By Walter Nyamukondiwa
A Mutorashanga couple, which forced its 13-year-old disabled daughter to live with chickens since September last year, has been sentenced to two years in jail.
The couple was convicted on child abuse charges by Chinhoyi magistrate Mrs Letwin Rwodzi.
The court ruled that the couple physically and emotionally abused the girl on the grounds that she was soiling herself in the blankets.
Mrs Rwodzi sentenced the girl’s father and her stepmother to two years in prison before setting aside six months on condition that they do not commit a similar offence in the next five years.
In aggravation, prosecutor Mr Trustmore Mukarati said the couple infringed all the fundamental rights of the child, including denying her food, shelter and precluding her from going to school.
The court was told that she would sleep and live in the chicken run, where she had only one blanket and would not be allowed to play with her brothers and sisters born by the stepmother.
Touched by her plight, neighbours alerted the police.
The girl’s 28-year-old stepmother and her 40-year-old father inhumanely treated her by denying her safety and comfort.
They did not deny forcing her to sleep and live in the chicken run but said the decision was made after she started soiling herself.
The decision was also made to isolate her from other children.
The girl started living among chickens sometime in 2009, which was however, disputed by the girl’s father, who said she moved there in September 2016.
“We agreed that she should move to the chicken run after she started messing the blankets while sleeping. It was a collective decision so that she would not affect the other children,” said the father in court.
They pleaded for leniency, saying they had children who needed their care.
Mrs Rwodzi asked them where their sense of parenthood had gone when they tortured their daughter. The Herald