Chipinge mother re­lives baby kid­nap­ping or­deal

The Manica Post - - Local News - Luthando Mapepa Chipinge Cor­re­spon­dent

“GIV­ING birth to a first child is one of the most painful ex­pe­ri­ences women go through in life. But the agony of los­ing that baby to a thief af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing such pain is unimag­in­able.”

Th­ese are the words of the 19-yearold Mem­ory Mh­langa whose two­day-old baby was kid­napped by a woman who had posed as a “Good Sa­mar­i­tan” to her at Chipinge District Hos­pi­tal last week.

Mh­langa, of Mus­ab­vunza Vil­lage un­der Chief Mutema, who had been in labour for nearly two weeks thought she had met a friend in Joyce Ma­putire (21), of Chi­man­i­mani.

Un­be­known to her, her new-found friend would soon turn into a foe, who was just af­ter steal­ing her baby.

Mh­langa, who re­united with her baby two days later af­ter po­lice ap­pre­hended the cul­prit de­scribed how her baby was stolen.

“I lost my baby in a well-planned strat­egy by the kid­nap­per. We used to see such cases in African movies but now I can re­late and I be­lieve it can also hap­pen to any one of us.

“I met Ma­putire the day I was ad­mit­ted in the ma­ter­nity ward. She told me that she was ex­pect­ing her own baby and we be­came friends. I gave birth on Fe­bru­ary 28 and the nurses told me that I would be de­tained fur­ther for them to mon­i­tor me since I had given birth through cae­sarean sec­tion,” she said.

She said the nurses also ad­vised her that her baby had to wait for a sur­gi­cal op­er­a­tion to re­move some of the ex­tra fin­gers that she was born with.

Mh­langa said Ma­putire was “God­sent” dur­ing this time as she would bring her sup­plies.

“On sev­eral times she vis­ited my room bring­ing me toi­letries and food to eat. She used to come dur­ing the vis­it­ing hour and most of my rel­a­tives met her and ac­cepted her as­sis­tance.

“I shared ev­ery bit of in­for­ma­tion that I was told by the nurses since she of­fered to as­sist with any­thing needed at hos­pi­tal. I never sus­pected that she would one day dis­ap­pear with my baby,” said Mh­langa.

“Then on the day we were sup­posed to go for the surgery, Joyce was there ex­plain­ing how the baby’s ex­tra fin­gers would be re­moved. She told my mother-in-law and other rel­a­tives to stay be­hind as there was no need for many peo­ple to ac­com­pany us to the the­atre.”

Upon ar­rival at the the­atre, the dis­traught mother said Joyce told her to go back to the ward to col­lect some doc­u­ments needed by the doc­tors not know­ing that it was the be­gin­ning of a try­ing time for her and her fam­ily.

“I was sur­prised to find no one when I got back. I later asked some peo­ple in the out­pa­tient sec­tion where one woman told me that she had seen Joyce board­ing a Honda fit that was parked and it drove off. That is when I raised alarm and we re­ported the mat­ter to po­lice,” she said.

As luck would have it, there was one per­son at the hos­pi­tal who knew the kid­nap­per and as­sisted po­lice with de­tails that led to her cap­ture. Mh­langa’s mother-in-law Elsie Mu­tama, still can­not be­lieve that the fam­ily would be re­united with the baby.

“Af­ter re­ceiv­ing the bad news that my son’s baby had been stolen, we vis­ited three faith heal­ers and all of them told us that blood had al­ready been spilled.

“We were re­lieved when we re­ceived a call from the po­lice who told us that the baby was in Chi­man­i­mani,” she said.

On ar­rival in Chi­man­i­mani, Joyce was in­ter­ro­gated and she con­fessed ev­ery­thing. She sur­ren­dered the baby, who had al­ready been chris­tened Joseph, af­ter Joyce’s fa­therin-law.

“We have since re­named him Daniel, be­cause like the bib­li­cal Daniel, he es­caped from the lion’s den,” said Gogo Mu­tama.

She said po­lice found the baby’s health card and a stamped birth record from the hos­pi­tal among Joyce’s belongings.

Ap­par­ently, she had been feed­ing lit­tle Daniel with a baby for­mula as she could not breast­feed.

“When she was in­ter­ro­gated, she re­vealed that she had hatched the plan to steal a baby with a lo­cal prophet whom she had vis­ited,” said Gogo Mu­tama.

Joyce has since ap­peared be­fore Chipinge mag­is­trate Mr Poterai Gwezhira and was sen­tenced to four years in prison, of which 12 months were sus­pended on good be­hav­iour.

Mh­langa (right) with her mother-in-law gogo Mu­tama hold­ing the baby. — Pic­ture by Luthando Mapepa

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