Ruth Butaumocho Gender Forum
This is unthinkable for any parent, more so for the mother who is considered a nurturer, carer and regarded as an embodiment of life. So, just the idea of a mother murdering her own child, for whatever reason is against the ideals of motherhood.
The world that we live in these days, never ceases to amaze me.
What with the brazen killing of husbands and other extreme cases of physical violence that grace local papers on a daily basis.
But probably the most shocking incidents are those of women who have forsaken their divine, cultural and natural role of being nurturers and have taken to killing, for whatever reason.
In the last few years, the world has watched women becoming more daring to the extent of killing their own children.
Cases of women killing their own children are on the increase and the female species is getting more daring with each incident as society grapples with the problem of infanticide, baby dumping and a coterie of other similar problems including murder.
Only last week, a woman from Mutasa in Manicaland was jailed for 15 years by the High Court for killing her three-year-old son.
She threw him into Odzi River to please her new lover.
According to evidence presented in court, this was a desperate bid by the woman to keep her lover who had threatened to abandon her if she did not do something about the “bastard”.
The incident comes barely a few weeks after another woman chose to kill her own child following a dispute with the father of the child.
Late last year, a Masvingo woman, Angeline Mabhiza poisoned six children, including her own two children, before taking her own life following a dispute with her mother over the upkeep of the children.
The act of killing one’s child is altruistic filicide, the most common motive were a mother rationalises that killing her child is in the child’s best interest.
This is unthinkable for any parent, more so for the mother who is considered a nurturer, carer and regarded as an embodiment of life.
So, just the idea of a mother murdering her own child, for whatever reason is against the ideals of motherhood.
Such a mother is seen as someone who is not only guilty of a crime, but has violated a law of nature and rebelled against instinct.
While women are increasingly getting on the spotlight for such heinous acts, the increasing incidents put to the question the issue of parenthood in Zimbabwe and the region.
My target of concern is the “deadbeat fathers”, footloose and care-free men who do not want to take responsibility of parenting their own children and live the responsibility to mothers, regardless of the burden it presents to one party.
We have men in our midst who have devalued the sanctity of parenthood, and are instead relegating the duty of looking after their children to women, choosing to be “accessory parents” when they should be playing an active role in the upbringing and well-being of their children.
Most of these men are keen to brag about how many children they have sired, but do not want to take responsibility for the care and upkeep of these children.
They remotely control the welfare of their children, leaving the woman to provide financial, social and moral support.
They forget that it is a matter of principle that everyone should take care of their child, whether they have remarried, are not financially stable or walk on one limb.
As society we ignore the problem of father absence.
Of great concern is the promulgation of laws which pay lip service to the importance of the “best interest of the child”, yet turn a blind eye to father absence, ignoring the long-term effects it may have on the well-being of the child.
Yes the man might pay maintenance, bring one or two morsels of bread, but does he play the active parental role that he is supposed to?
When push comes to shove, does he stand by the children he sired, or he wants the woman to forgo her life, while he gallivants around?
And when the very same child gets to the top echelons of life, he wants to be there, bragging about how he struggled to raise that child.
In her defence, the Mutasa woman said she decided to kill the boy because the boy’s relatives had refused to care for the child. Where was the father?
Isn’t parenthood a shared responsibility?
While I am not condoning the killing of the innocent boy, the Mutasa woman will have to face jail time alone, for failing to burden herself with the responsibility of the boy, which could have been shared.
It is also a lesson to women who practically hold the babies to be responsible for conception.
They should make their own decisions to have children and not be forced by circumstances, on intuition or other emotions of similar nature.
And should they decide to have children, it is again their responsibility to pick the right man for the job, instead of merely getting a sperm donor, who are many and come in equal measures.