- "He (Moana’s father) must still stand crime. He must pay damages for a life he destroyed. It's very tragic that a girl aged 14 could be pregnant and no-one gets punished for it. These cases must help us bring paedophile to book."
MR. Ishmael Amuli, father of the late socialite Michelle “Moana” Amuli, faces arrest for having sexual intercourse with a girl aged fourteen (14).
The hugely popular Moana’s died on 8 November when the Rolls-Royce Wraith she was travelling in crashed against a tree and exploded, burning her and two other friends beyond recognition. The supercar owner and fellow socialite Genius “Ginimbi” was thrown out of the vehicle and died moments later as first responders tried to assist him.
A week after Moana’s death, her family members from both the paternal and the maternal sides have been fighting to bury her remains, placing her virtually unknown mother Yolander Kuvaoga and father Ishmael Amuli into the limelight.
This was revealed by Dr. Hazviperi Betty Makoni, a prominent girl child activist, who wants to report Mr. Amuli for the crime she says was committed 26 years ago.
Moana died at the age of 26 and left behind a daughter Tyra, aged 7.
Speaking about her intention to have Mr. Ishmael Amuli arrested for statutory rape, the UK-based Dr Makoni said: :Moana died at age 26. Her mother is 41. What age did this man (Ishmael) marry Moana’s mother? ANSWER age 15. So he had sex with a girl aged 14.
“I want him punished for the historical statutory rape. Rape as a crime takes 50 years. Reporting him for rape has not elapsed. He must be punished,” Dr. Makoni insisted.
World-acclaimed Zimbabwean novelist and film maker Tsitsi Dangarembga agreed with Dr. Makoni that a crime was committed and Mr. Amuli must be charged. Dangarembga also took issue with some who suggested that Moana’s mother might have consented to the sexual relationship with Mr. Amuli.
“So a girl comes to your house naked. So the only way you can deal with it is rush forward and rape her. So what do you want us to do?” Dangarembga, who wrote the 1986 best-seller Nervous Conditions, said.
In Zimbabwe, the age of sexual consent is 16.
Dr. Makoni further said: “It does not make it right (that maybe Moana’s parents were in an arranged relationship). Harmful cultural practices like these destroyed lives of not only past families but such past harms are hurting individuals now. Sex with a minor is illegal whether it was arranged or not. He must be on the current sex offender register.
“He must still stand crime. He must pay damages for a life he destroyed. It’s very tragic that a girl aged 14 could be pregnant and no-one gets punished for it. These cases must help us bring paedophile to book.”
Dr Makoni, who rose to prominence in 1999 when she Makoni founded the Girl Child Network to help Zimbabwe’s young sexual abuse victims, says Mr. Amuli is aged 51 while Moana’s mother is ten years younger.
In a previous interview with a local tabloid, Mr. Amuli said he never stayed with Moana’s mother as husband and wife as she left him before Moana was even born.
He said she left him and married two other men later on, leaving him to take care of Moana who he said was dumped to him at age ten days.
It was also revealed that in the past two years before her tragic death, Moana and her father were estranged as the father, who is a conservative Moslem, disapproved of Moana’s partying lifestyle and prominence in worldly music videos.
Dr. Makoni said her determination and proven track record when it comes to placing rapists in prison will ensure she prevails against Mr. Amuli. Through her Girl Child Network, Dr. Makoni has assisted over 400,000 rape victims over the years.
She said her own tragic experiences fuel her fierce determination to fight rape.
“I was raped when I was 6 years old,” she recalled in a CNN interview a few years ago. Her attacker was a local shopkeeper. Makoni said her mother would not allow her to report the abuse.
“She said, ‘Shh, we don’t say that in public,’ ” Makoni remembered. “I had no shoulder to cry on.”
Three years later, she witnessed her father murder her mother. In that moment, Makoni said she realized the potentially deadly consequence of a woman’s silence.
“I told myself that no girl or woman will suffer the same again,” she said.
Believing an education would provide her the best opportunity and means to speak out, Makoni earned two university degrees and became a teacher. While teaching, she noticed that girls were dropping out of school at an alarming rate. She approached her students with an idea.
In 2000, she quit her teaching job to volunteer with Girl Child Network full time.
“I decided to become an advocate because I walked my own journey to survival,” she said.
The following year Makoni successfully procured a piece of land and opened the organization’s first empowerment village, designed to provide a haven for girls who have been abused. Girls are either rescued or referred to the village by social services, the police and the community. The healing begins as soon as a girl arrives.
However, Dr. Makoni fled Zimbabwe in 2008 claiming persecuting by the Robert Gabriel Mugabe administration, saying her assistance to victims of rape by Zanu-PF supporters attracted the anger of Mugabe’s state intelligence services.
Makoni says nothing will end her fight for the rights of women and girls. “This is the job I have always wanted to do, because it gives me fulfillment. And in girls I see myself every day.” – Zimbabwe Voice ■