By A Correspondent- A man from Dete in Hwange District has been arrested after he allegedly whipped his three-year-old stepson to death accusing him of wetting blankets.
Nkatazo Penga (38) of Gulalembila Village under Chief Nekatambe allegedly committed the heinous crime on Tuesday.
The deceased boy has been identified as Sanie Dieton Tembo.
He had been left in the custody of the accused stepfather by his mother who left home in the morning going to the family field to prepare land for farming.
The mother, Ms Estere Tembo (50) returned home and found her son’s lifeless body in the kitchen hut.
Penga reportedly told his wife that he went out and on his return found the boy dead and did not know what had happened to him.
Neighbours said Penga was in the habit of beating up the little boy each time he wet the blankets, and the boy’s body sustained scars.
The deceased’s maternal aunt Ms Tendai Ndlovu said the couple had no child together.
“We can’t say much for now as she is still shocked by this,” she said.
Gulalembila village head Mr Misheck Sibanda said the community was still in shock.
“We don’t really know what happened since they were alone at home as the mother had gone to the fields but everyone is shocked by this issue. It has emerged that the man was always ill-treating the boy for wetting blankets.
We didn’t know there was such kind of abuse going on and I was shocked to hear it,” said Mr Sibanda.
He said he will gather his subjects to raise awareness against child abuse, domestic violence and other kinds of abuses.
“We will hear from the police but I am planning to gather all my subjects once this dust settles so we can talk about domestic violence. We always tell people to live in harmony and desist from violence and so we expect families to live peacefully,” said Mr Sibanda.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi could not readily comment on the matter saying he was yet to get an official update.
Sources closer to the investigations said Penga had been arrested for murder and is assisting police with investigations.
It is alleged that the boy’s mother left her son in the custody of the accused person as she went to the fields at 7am on Tuesday.
She returned home later and found him dead.
As she entered the hut, she saw her son lying facing downwards. Upon checking, she discovered that he was dead and wearing different clothes from the ones she had left him putting on in the morning.
At that time Penga was not at home.
A report was made to the police who attended the scene.
Police discovered that the boy’s body was swollen and had fresh bruises on the face above the eye, buttocks, leg, back, hand and head.
Penga was arrested on the spot but denied having assaulted the toddler.
The body was taken to Hwange Colliery Hospital mortuary and was expected to be conveyed to Bulawayo yesterday for post-mortem.