Mash Central Bureau
A 32-year-old woman from Sika village in Bindura has been arrested for concealing the death of her two-year-old daughter and secretly burying the body in a garden.
Portia Chovani was turned in by a neighbour who suspected that something bad had happened to the girl and reported to the police that the toddler was missing.
Mashonaland Central acting police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Naison Dhliwayo said they are treating the case as murder pending investigations. He said on April 17 at around 5pm, Shamva police received a tip off that a child was missing in unclear circumstances.
“A police officer went to Sika village under Chief Musana and interviewed Chovani on the whereabouts of her child. In response Chovani said the child was with relatives in Guha village,” he said. “Police went to Guha village, 10km away and failed to locate the minor. They came back and questioned Chovani who changed the story and said the child had died. She said the child had fallen sick at the end of January and become serious in March before passing away on March 8.
“She told the police that she had dumped the body in the garden because she had no money to meet expenses of a proper burial.”
Asst Insp Dhliwayo said Chovani told the police that her neighbours had warned her that there was no place to bury her child because she is a foreigner.
She led police to a garden about 400 metres from her home, where she had dug a 60-centimetre-deep grave and buried the child.
Her neighbour, Sarudzai Kafireni (52) alleged that the child was malnourished.
On April 18 this year, an application for exhumation of the body was granted and the body was retrieved in the presence of village head Mr Bernard Sika (67).
The body was in an advanced stage of decomposition and it was sent to Bindura Hospital for a post-mortem.
Asst Insp Dhliwayo said parents and guardians need to understand that children need love and care.
“Take your children to the clinic when they fall sick and when you are struggling to look after them approach the Department of Social Welfare for assistance. Nothing justifies killing a child,” he said.