MASERU — A Semonkong man was on Monday imprisoned for 15 years after he was found guilty of raping his 16-year-old daughter.
His wife, who was also on trial for aiding his husband’s wickedness, escaped jail after the crown withdrew charges against her.
The 41-year-old man from Semonkong met his comeuppance on Monday despite his pleas that he slept with his daughter because his wife had threatened to leave him and he was afraid of marrying another woman.
The names of the convict and his wife have been withheld to protect the identity of their daughter.
The man told magistrate Ts’eliso Bale in his mitigation on Monday that he started having sex with his daughter because his wife was about to leave him.
To prepare for that eventuality, the man said, he started having sex with his daughter.
He said his 36-year-old wife had always been aware that he was raping their daughter.
During trial the court heard that the man started raping his daughter in 2009 after he had requested permission from his wife to have sex with their daughter.
It is not clear whether the wife agreed or not.
Later that year the man approached his daughter and asked her if she was aware that many girls were becoming pregnant and others were contracting HIV because they were having sex with boys.
When the girl, a secondary school student, responded that she was aware of the problems, the father offered to “protect” her from being pregnant and being infected with HIV.
The “protection” the father gave his daughter was to have sex with her using a condom.
The court heard that the man had sex with his daughter on several occasions until November last year.
The girl ran away from home and sought refuge at her grandfather’s house after realising that the issue had caused conflict between her parents.
By that time the man and his wife had started arguing about his insistence to have sex with their daughter.
The grandfather told the village chief who reported the matter to the police and an investigation was launched.
One policewoman Moshoeshoe who investigated the matter, told Lesotho Television that her inquiries revealed that the man would have sex with his wife and daughter on the same night.
Moshoeshoe said her investigations also revealed that the wife became too scared to stop the man from raping their daughter.
The couple has seven other children who are younger than the victim.
Moshoeshoe said her investigations revealed that the man ran his home with an iron fist and had banned his wife from befriending women from their village.
His children too were prohibited from making friends, Moshoeshoe said.
“We heard from the villagers and the school teachers that money was needed for the school feeding programme but he refused to pay saying his children should not be fed at school,” Moshoeshoe said.
“This shows the extent to which this man was mistreating his family and he kept it under fear,” she said.
Faced with a lengthy prison sentence, the man tried to plead for leniency by evoking his miserable and harsh upbringing.
“I grew up without a mother and my father, together with my stepmother, brought me up harshly,” he said.
“My wife would threaten to leave me. I ended up not trusting my wife,” he said.
Asked why he raped his daughter when his wife was threatening to leave him the man said: “I did this with the aim of entrenching my roots in the family.”
“I was in fear of entering into a second marriage.”
Magistrate Bale however said the crime the man had committed was so serious that he deserved a severe punishment to deter others who were contemplating to commit a similar crime.