HARARE – Convicted child rapist Munyaradzi Kereke – sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2016 – was ordered released on bail by the Supreme Court on Wednesday pending his appeal against conviction and sentence.
The former Bikita West MP and adviser to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, who was serving an effective 10 years after four were conditionally set aside, was due for release in 20 months.
Following a hearing in chambers with Kereke’s legal team of Lovemore Madhuku and Tawona Nyamukura, and the 11-year-old victim’s guardian lawyer Charles Warara, Justice Hlekani Mwayera set bail for Kereke at Z$500,000.
Warara told journalists after the hearing: “The judge did not say much but said her reasons will be availed in due course. My take is that she relied on the applicant’s submission that there is now leave to appeal, and that should the appeal be prosecuted while he is serving, then by the time it is heard it would all be academic.
“The time left for him to complete the sentence being short would be prejudicial to him to serve pending the appeal.”
Kereke was jailed by Harare magistrate Noel Mupeiwa in 2016 after Warara pursued a private prosecution when then Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana refused to take up the case.
His first appeal against conviction and sentence was dismissed on May 29, 2019, by the High Court which declined to grant him automatic leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Kereke then applied to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal and last month he was granted leave to appeal. He then filed his appeal and so returned to the Supreme Court on Wednesday now seeking bail pending that appeal.
Warara said they felt he should have remained locked.
“We’re happy that we had secured justice for the victim. However, we feel he should have remained inside,” the lawyer said.
In opposing Kereke’s bail application Warara said Kereke still has financial means to avoid returning to jail.
“He has influence which he still wields locally to enable him to stay out of prison and roam freely or even hide from the law enforcement agents,” he said.
To support this, he cited reports that Kereke had impregnated his wife while in prison.
Three prison wardens were also taken to court on allegations of having received US$10,500 from a poultry project which was financed by Kereke without the knowledge of their superiors – ZimLive