AN anti-riot police officer from Bulawayo has been arrested for allegedly strangling his three-year-old son and claiming the boy died due to injuries sustained after falling off the stairs.
Albert Nhenda (33), a Constable in the Echo Troop ZRP Support Unit stationed at Fairbridge Police Camp, was arrested on Friday after allegedly making a false police report that his son, Makhosiwonke, fell on steps which are about 30 centimetres high on the entrance to his home at Mpopoma suburb on Wednesday last week.
A source close to the family, who declined to be named, said Nhenda had tried to kill his son twice before.
“He appears to have succeeded on the third attempt,” said the source.
The source said Nhenda sent the mother of the child, Ms Cathrine Ndlovu (22) from Filabusi, to the city centre to purchase clothes for their child since she had visited with one set of clothes.
“When Ms Ndlovu left, Nhenda sent the maid to buy some drinks at Total shops. Everyone now believes it could have been a ploy to remove everyone around him so that he could strangle his son without witnesses,” said the source.
“It is believed that it is during this time that Nhenda strangled his son and plotted the falling lie. He called his friend from Magwegwe to help him ferry the child to hospital. Along the way, he suddenly ‘discovered’ the child had died.”
The source said Nhenda and his friend drove to Western Commonage Police Station and made a report and the matter was treated as a sudden death.
The Chronicle learnt that a postmortem was done at the United Bulawayo Hospitals and the cause of death was concluded as strangulation and asphyxia and this led to further investigations by the police.
Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Homicide and Western Commonage Police, said another family source, learnt that Nhenda had on different occasions tried to kill his child.
“They immediately centred their investigations on Nhenda and it appears they may have a case because we have been told he will appear in court this week,” said the source.
“In September 2017, Nhenda suggested to Ms Ndlovu that they should kill their child. A year after, Nhenda visited them in Filabusi and was left with the child and allegedly poisoned him,” said the source.
As a result, added the source, the child was admitted to Filabusi District Hospital for four days.
However, a police source yesterday said Nhenda has adamantly stuck to his version of his son’s death. “He still insists the boy fell and broke his neck. I think the whole truth will come out in court,” said the source.
Efforts to contact Bulawayo police spokesperson Chief Inspector Precious Simango were fruitless yesterday.