A Marange woman has been jailed for four years after she killed her 13-year-old son by attacking him with switches and smashing his head against the wall after he was sent back home from school for not having a pen.
Lydia Kahwema of Mangatu Village under Chief Marange was initially jailed for eight years when she appeared before High Court judge Justice Hlekani Mwayera charged with culpable homicide.
Justice Mwayera set aside four years of her jail term on condition that she does not commit a similar offence within the next five years.
Kahwema was initially charged with murder after she assaulted her son, Tafadzwa, to death, before the State preferred culpable homicide charges.
In sentencing Kahwema, Justice Mwayera said the court had to weigh in and show that the sanctity of human life cannot be eroded by violent and irrational individuals.
“The accused’s conduct bordered on recklessness as she brutally and viciously assaulted her 13-year-old child using switches and further busting the head against a wall,” he said.
“The moral blameworthiness is high given the child looked up to the mother for protection and support.
“The child had been sent away from school for a ballpoint pen and for him to be visited with such a vicious attack by the mother was unwarranted. The mother had a duty and obligation to maintain the child.”
Justice Mwayera described the attack as the worst form of domestic violence which calls for severe punishment.
“A civilised community should uphold a homely atmosphere which is peaceful and readily available to resolve differences in a peaceful manner,” said Justice Mwayera.
“To severely and fatally assault a child for a pen is unacceptable and must be condemned. The child was subjected to torture both at home and at school.
“The right to education was offended by being chased away from school. Further, the child’s rights were crushed by the mother who violently attacked the child instead of shouldering the duty of care and provision on herself. The irresponsible and cruel conduct by the mother calls for a custodial sentence.”
Circumstances leading to Kahwema’s arrest were that on February 26 last year, the late Tafadzwa was sent home from school for not having a ballpoint pen.
His return did not go down well with Kahwema, who then started assaulting him with switches several times all over the body.
Kahwema went on to smash her son’s head against the wall, leaving him with serious injuries.
The 13-year-old later died from the injuries.
Meanwhile, Gabrielle Gede reports that two suspected armed robbers who were nabbed in Marondera after they broke into a Versface Investments director’s car which was parked in Mutare’s city centre and went away with $40 000 cash, have appeared in court.
Philip Chirinda (35) and Joseph Ruwona (29) appeared before Mutare magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe charged with robbery.
Prosecutor Mr Chris Munyuku alleged that on March 21 this year, Versface Investments director Mr Geofrey Ngonyama collected money from his office and drove to his friend, Resistance Mundembe’s workplace at Big Bite Investments in Mutare.
Reports are that Ngonyama and Mundembe exchanged cash while seated in a car.
Chirinda and Ruwona then spotted the two while counting the money.
Reports are that Ngonyama drove to a carpentry shop where he also collected $5 000 and drove to Old Sasu Hospital.
The two suspected robbers are said to have started tracking Ngonyama from the time he left Mundembe’s workplace.
The court heard that Chirinda and Ruwona then broke into Ngonyama’s car when he was parked at Old Sasu Hospital after collecting the money from a carpentry shop.
They allegedly stole $40 000 and drove away.
Ngonyama is said to have been alerted of the robbery by his car’s alarm and made a chase.
Ngonyama is said to have almost caught up with the two suspects at Christmas Pass after a high-speed chase, but was forced to abandon the pursuit by gunshots fired by the two.
It is the State’s case that Ngonyama went to lodge a complaint at Mutare Central Police who then alarted Rusape and Marondera police.
Chirinda and Ruwona were intercepted in Marondera, leading to their arrest.
One of their accomplices escaped and is still at large.