A man and his partner have been sentenced to 12 months in jail after being found guilty of locking two children in a room without food or water. Simbarashe Mabuwana, aged 38, and Fiona Mapuranga, aged 28, initially received a 15-month sentence from Harare magistrate Tsitsi Chitatu, with three months suspended on the condition of good behaviour.
The case involved two children, aged four and one, who were fathered by Mabuwana in a previous marriage. The couple had taken custody of the children when their mother, Sikoliwe Masaiti, visited to collect maintenance payments. However, she was ordered to leave the children with Mabuwana’s new partner.
Concerns were raised when an informant discovered the children in a distressed state, locked inside a room. The State proved that on December 31 of the previous year, Masaiti visited the couple to collect maintenance payments after Mabuwana had defaulted for four months. The couple instructed her to leave the children, and she complied.
In August, when Masaiti requested to see the children, an informant discovered their dire condition and that they were being locked in a room. The two minors were interviewed and disclosed that they frequently went without food for long periods. They also experienced physical abuse and were consistently confined to the room. Additionally, their ability to speak and walk properly had been affected.
A report was filed at Waterfalls Police Station, leading to the children being taken to Sally Mugabe Hospital for medical attention. Kate Kamanda represented the State in the case.