By Tendai Rupapa
Two women arrested for killing their newborn babies in separate incidents appeared in court last week. Patience Chawasarira (34) reportedly gave birth alone at home and buried the child in her backyard in Rugare, Harare. It is not certain whether the baby was killed after birth or it was a stillborn. In another case, a Hatcliffe woman, Forget Ravhu (29), also gave birth to a baby boy whom she threw into a Blair toilet. It is also not clear whether she dumped the baby in the toilet alive or it had already died.
Chawasarira was not asked to plead when she appeared before magistrate Ms Annie Ndiraya. She was remanded in custody to March 2, pending a post-mortem report. It is the State’s case that when Chawasarira got pregnant, she informed her boyfriend who denied responsibility. She carried the pregnancy in secrecy up to nine months. She did not register the pregnancy at a clinic or hospital.
Prosecuting, Ms Shambadzeni Fungura, alleged that on February 11 at around 2pm, Chawasarira started experiencing labour pains while at home. She gave birth to a baby girl.
Chawasarira, the court heard, put the child on the floor and covered it with a cloth. She later put it in a bucket, took it to the back of the house where she placed the infant in a garbage pit.
She covered the child with grass and later filled the pit with sand, it is alleged. The State further alleged that after burying the child, Chawasarira went back into the house and cleaned the blood which was on the floor and acted as if nothing happened. The offence came to light when neighbours started questioning her about the missing bulging tummy. Ravhu, on the other hand, gave birth on February 13 and threw the baby in a Blair toilet. The baby was dead when it was retrieved.