The woman, who cannot be named to protect her identity, tried to commit suicide when Leabny Special Chikosha (57) allegedly threatened to use his "magical powers" to kill her if she alerted anyone.
The officer commanding Mt Darwin District, Chief Superintendent Kudakwashe Mubhemi, confirmed Chikosha’s arrest.
Acting provincial spokesperson for Mashonaland Central Assistant Inspector Petros Masikati said Chikosha raped his daughter-in-law between September 2008 and February 2009.
"The allegations are that between September 2008 and February 2009, Chikosha raped the complainant several times saying it was his custom to have sexual relationships with all his daughters-in-law at his homestead since his sons were infertile," he said.
The daughter-in-law, Asst Insp Masikati said, fell pregnant after one of the assaults.
She gave birth to a baby boy on June 6 last year but the baby died the same month.
In an interview with The Herald yesterday, the visibly depressed woman said she fell in love with Chikosha’s son in May 2008.
"I eloped with my husband on September 1, 2008. They paid US$23 token (tsvakiraikuno) to alert my family that I was staying with them.
"I stayed with my husband for a week before he left for Chesa without telling me.
"On the day my husband left, my father-in-law knocked on my door at around 9pm," she said.
She opened the door believing that it was her husband because the two had similar voices.
"I was surprised to see my father-in-law entering the bedroom hut. I asked him why and he said he had an important issue to discuss with me.
"I suggested we talk outside the hut but he refused saying it was a secret," she said.
The woman said her father-in-law told her there were family rules she had to know.
"He said according to the rules he was supposed to consummate his son’s marriages and I refused.
"He switched off the paraffin lamp and pinned me to the ground. I was only wrapped in a bed sheet.
"He raped me once and told me that I would die if I told anyone about the family tradition.
"I left my bedroom hut and called my mother-in-law, who was sleeping in a nearby hut.
"I told her what had happened but she scolded me saying I was a dog.
"She asked what was special about me and called me a liar. She warned me that I would die," she alleged.
After two days, the woman said, her husband returned and she told him what had happened.
"I believe it was planned," she sobbed.
She alleges she was not allowed to talk to neighbours or leave the homestead without her mother-in-law.
She gave birth to a baby boy in June last year.
"After the baby died, my father-in-law approached me and said he wanted to console me with sex.
"My husband fell ill in February this year and had surgery. My mother-in-law then started sleeping in the same room with my husband.
"I decided to commit suicide because there was no one I could turn to. I could not go to my relatives because no bride price had been paid," she said.
The woman’s aunt said her family only learnt about the alleged abuse after the baby died.
"During the funeral wake, the father-in-law angrily told us that our child had a lesion on her private parts.
"We were shocked but could not say anything. We quizzed her over the allegations and that is when she opened up," she said.
Another relative said Chikosha asked for forgiveness when the matter was reported to village head, Mr Edison Rowi Mapurisa.
He allegedly agreed to compensate with a goat.
"Trouble started when the family refused to take her back as a daughter-in-law and we took the matter to Chief Dotito, who did not find him (Chikosha) guilty of any wrongdoing."
Chief Dotito yesterday told The Herald that he dismissed the case because the complainant did not disclose how she was raped.
"No one corroborated her evidence and we decided to dismiss it," he said.
On May 14 this year, the matter was reported to Dotito Police Station leading to Chikosha’s arrest.
Asst Insp Masikati said Chikosha was in police custody and would soon appear in court on rape charges.