There was joy and jubilation in the dusty high-density suburb of Dzivarasekwa Extension Tuesday night when a four-week-old baby girl, Tamiranashe who was kidnapped 12 days ago, finally reunited with her family.
Tami, as the baby is affectionately known, was kidnapped on 22 October at Montague Spar Supermarket in the Avenues area in Harare.
A Good Samaritan-turned thief, Miriam Bwanali had befriended Tami’s unsuspecting mother, Shani Charamanda at Parirenyatwa Hospital where she had gone for her high blood pressure check-up.
A NewZimbabwe.com crew arrived at the Dzivarasekwa Extension home; at the same time the family was coming from Zvimba in Mashonaland West province where the girl had been taken to by Bwanali.
The driver travelling with Tami, was forced to drive slowly to avoid running over scores of women, men and children who had poured out into the street and could not hold back their excitement in seeing the baby girl back.
However, while the family is happy to be reunited with the innocent child, Miriam Bwanali, the woman who stole the infant is still at large, having escaped a few minutes before law enforcement agents arrived to arrest her at her home in rural Zvimba.
“We received a call Monday night from Zvimba police asking for our crime reference number because they suspected a woman there had a new baby she was not breast feeding,” Mai Chaza, Tami’s aunt, told NewZimbabwe.com.
“Just like many calls we have been receiving, we just thought it was one of those hoaxes. The police said a villager had noticed that Miriam was not breastfeeding ‘her new baby’ who was continuously crying.
“When she was questioned about that strange behaviour, Bwanali responded she didn’t breastfeed her babies. That’s when the other woman became suspicious and reported her to the police.”
Mai Chaza added: “When we got to Murombedzi, Bwanali’s husband who was already in police custody, told us his wife had told him she had ‘given birth’ at Belvedere Maternity in Harare.
“But he confessed he was not satisfied with Bwanali’s explanation. The police then called us back to Murombedzi Tuesday morning to identify an infant in their custody and as you can imagine, Monday to Tuesday was a long night.
“The mother and family members with her positively identified the baby.”
The family is grateful to citizens, who through prayers gave them hope and faith.
Police have since arrested the suspect’s husband Gift Chemhuru for kidnapping.
Chemhuru was also on the police’s wanted list for theft and motor vehicle related offences.
In a statement, the police national spokesperson Paul Nyathi said members of the public should be alert as the key suspect, Bwanali, is still on the run.