45 years for repeated rape of two boys

“The scars that you left on these boys will never heal,” said Magistrate Leopoldt Hangalo when he sentenced Mandume Nakale to an effective 45 years in prison on Friday.

06 September 2021 | Justice

TUYEIMO HAIDULA

OSHAKATI

The Oshakati Regional Court on Friday imposed a heavy sentence on a man who had raped two young boys over the course of four years while he was a teenager himself.

“You are the architecture of your own demise and you cannot cry foul now and say you are remorseful,” Magistrate Leopoldt Hangalo said when he sentenced Mandume Nakale (29) to an effective 45 years’ imprisonment.

Nakale was found guilty on six counts of rape of two boys, who were nine and 12 years old when the sexual assaults began in 2008. They continued until 2012, when the boys spoke up.

Nakale has been out on bail since he was arrested that same year.

Nakale was 16 years old when he started sexually abusing the boys, who lived in the same street.

He was sentenced to five years each on counts one, two and six. In addition, the magistrate sentenced him to 15 years each for counts three, four and five. Each of the five-year sentences will run concurrently with the 15-year sentences.

Nakale admitted to having raped the first complainant but denied raping the second complainant. The court found him guilty of raping both.

Hangalo said the heavy sentences demonstrated the tough stance the courts have decided to take against rapists.

“I have no words to describe your conduct. Predators like yourself groom your victims before you prey on them and that is why you were making the children watch porn before repeating the acts on them.

“They trusted you but you broke that trust and did the despicable. You turned out to be a wolf in sheep skin. I have been sitting on this bench for 25 years. These scars that you left on these boys will never heal. They will only learn to live with it until the person dies.”

Too late for tears

Nakale’s lawyer, Jelin Ntelamo Mayumbelo, told the court that her client was genuinely remorseful for his actions and pleaded with Hangalo for mercy. The defence asked for a 12-year sentence, with three years suspended.

In response, Hangalo remarked during the sentencing that it was too late for Nakale to “weep”, as lives had been “ruined forever” by his actions.

“These crimes continue unabated. There is no doubt that rape is a serious crime. In this court on a daily basis we are dealing with unspeakable crimes.

“If we lose focus, society might take the law into their own hands and create chaos. The courts are duty bound to play their role to show that those who commit these crimes will be punished severely,” Magistrate Hangalo said.

No consent

Violent crimes against women and children have reached an alarming level in Namibia, the magistrate remarked.

The police reported in December 2020 that at least 120 children had been raped in Namibia within a period of two months.

Under Namibian law, a child under the age of 14 years cannot consent to sexual intercourse. Any sexual act with a child under the age of 14, if the perpetrator is three years older than the victim, is considered to be rape under the Combating of Rape Act.

State prosecutor Nealo Ya France said Nakale clearly took advantage of the fact that the victims were younger than him.

Being older, Nakale could manipulate them by giving them gifts of branded t-shirts and bags, letting them ride his bicycle, watch movies or play games on his laptop in an attempt to get them to sleep with him.

He said Nakale took advantage of the fact that these boys were younger and, in his own words, easier to coerce to sleep with him than older boys would have been.

No mitigating circumstances

Hangalo said Mayumbelo did not submit any mitigating circumstances except Nakale’s youthfulness and that he was misguided when he committed the crime. However, he said young people should not hide behind their age to commit crimes.

In the same vein, Hangalo said the incident had a severe psychological impact on the complainants’ parents, who now face victimisation in society.

“These parents did not ask for their children to be raped. The children did not ask to be raped. But they are paying a heavy price for it,” he stressed.

Ya France said although the rapes were committed when the boys were only nine years old, at the time of their testimony they were fully grown young men. The first victim was 17 years old and the second victim was 22 years old at the time of the trial.

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