‘My daughter lied,’ claims mum after dad gets 3 years for indecent assault
The former common law wife of a Chadibe man sentenced to three years behind bars on a charge of indecently assaulting his teenage daughter is convinced the girl lied.
“He is innocent. My daughter is the one who is wrong,” she said in a dramatic twist to the story that hit the headlines last week.
Cecilia Musanda (45) told how her ‘wayward’ daughter had threatened to ‘fix’ her step-dad in the same way if he attempted to discipline her.
45-year-old Oakile Ketshwenyegile begun his three-year prison sentence last week after a Francistown magistrate found him guilty of fondling his daughter’s breasts and vagina before begging her for sex.
The two lived together in a single room in Chadibe, a village 60 kms from Francistown.
Throughout the trial the father, who had no legal representation, protested his innocence. He maintained that two-day’s before the allegations he had severely disciplined his 17-year-old daughter for staying out late with a boyfriend, and this was her way of getting revenge.
Francistown magistrate Kgololesego Segabo however found the girl to be a credible witness, preferring to label the father’s actions as ‘saddening and disgusting,’ rather than believe his side of the story.
In a twist to the tale the girl’s mother, traditional doctor Cecilia Musanda (45) of Monarch’s Phase VI location in Francistown, this week spoke out in defence of her former husband.
The couple separated almost 16 years ago, but have been in regular contact since the girl remained under her father’s care.
She told how when the allegations were made in June last year she responded with urgency and removed her daughter from Chadibe to live with her in Francistown.
“Although the details took me by surprise, I believed my daughter was telling the truth.”
Musanda went on to say that she had taken her daughter to social workers in Francistown for counselling, but that she did not respond much to their questioning.
“I tried on several occasions to persuade her to tell me the story of what really happened that night, but she was never willing to be open with me.”
It was only months later that she began to realise that things were not as she thought and that her daughter had lied.
“How can she do this?” she asked, fighting back tears as she continued her story.
Musanda revealed that earlier this year she had gone away on business related to her work, leaving her daughter and her other children in the care of their step-father.
During that time the girl began staying out late with a boyfriend, and when her husband reprimanded his step-daughter for her wayward behaviour she responded by saying: “If you try to control my movements I will do the same to you as I did with my father.”
“Everyone is now afraid of her. The moment one wants to discipline her she threatens to fabricate a serious offense against that person,” said Musanda.
The mother went on to reveal that they had reported the matter to Tati Town police, the same station that was dealing with the charges against Ketshwenyegile, but no action was taken against the girl.
“She told the police that she would do as she was told, but a few weeks later she was back to her old tricks.
“It is very painful. We cannot do anything about her,” chipped in her terrified stepfather, Gaoitshiwe Musanda.
He said that whilst he did not tolerate an undisciplined child, he had lost hope with his wayward stepdaughter. As a result he has thrown the 18-year-old girl out of the family home to avoid a situation where he might be incriminated in an offence he did not commit.
“Prison is not a place to be. I am just imagining how that man (Ketshwenyegile) is coping especially for an offence he did not commit. So to avoid tasting prison life I have taken a decision not to share a roof with that girl,” said the stepfather, who was seated close to his distressed wife.
Expressing her concern at the prison sentence and her regret that she had at first believed her daughter’s story, Musanda added: “This is a very hard time for Ketshwenyegile and everyone of this family. But I now know for sure that he is innocent.”
She described her former husband as a humble and down to earth man. She said her ten-year stay with him was characterized by love, peace, harmony and self-respect.
“It is unbelievable that this man could have turned into a monster. He does not deserve this,” she said.
VOICE OF THE VOICE
JUSTICE FOR ALL
When Ketshwenyegile was sentenced the magistrate asked, “How can a man want to have sexual intercourse with his own daughter? How can a man find it proper to fondle the breasts and vagina of his underage daughter?”
This behaviour challenges the moral fibre of our society. What is happening in the society?”
In an effort to find answers to these questions we had wanted to interview the daughter to find out how she felt about the incident and the prison sentence imposed on her father. We traced the house she had moved to after her apparent ordeal and found her mother and stepfather, who told their story.
During the interview Musanda contacted her daughter, who called round to meet our reporter but could not be drawn into discussing the matter.
Previous to that we had reported in two front-page editions under the headlines, “My dad begged me for sex,” and last week’s, ‘Sex attack dad jailed,’ the story as it was told in court.
In the time that was available before we went to press last week we were able to contact neighbours of the family in Chadibe, whose comments about Ketshwenyegile seemed to confirm the magistrate’s conviction that he was guilty.
Since talking to the girl’s mother and stepfather and closely studying the case file, we now believe the father was wrongly convicted.
He was found guilty on the ‘overwhelming evidence’ of the state, which depended almost entirely on the magistrate’s belief that the daughter’s evidence was credible.
We wish to help him file an appeal and have engaged a lawyer to take up the case. We believe that had Ketshwenyegile had legal representation at his trial there is a strong possibility that he would not have been convicted.
In this regard we applaud the intentions of government to make legal aid accessible to those who would otherwise have been unable to afford the service.