A three-year-old child was regularly beaten and forced to stand under a tree for long periods as punishment for soiling her clothes by her stepmother.

The 20-year-old stepmother assaulted the child, causing her to suffer multiple fractures. Thanks Musvita, of No. 3016 Domboramwari in Epworth was arrested and has pleaded guilty to charges of ill-treatment or neglect of children and young persons.

Harare magistrate Ms Tendai Rusinahama referred the matter to Social Welfare regarding the living conditions of the child before sentence. Musvita was granted $50 bail and is expected back in court on January 15.

Prosecuting, Mr Francesca Mukumbiri told the court that on December 12 last year, the toddler, Shelleen Mutize, was taken to Harare Central Hospital. Musvita had told her husband, Wonder Mutize, that the child fell unconscious after being choked by a banana.
She added that the minor also fell from a bed while she was sleeping.
At the hospital, a medical doctor who examined the child discovered she had multiple fractures. The doctor also discovered marks on her body which he suspected were consistent with ill-treatment through assaults with blunt objects.

The doctor advised police to investigate the matter. On December 21, the child’s mother, Ashley Chimutsinga (20), was informed by Mutize informing her that Shelleen was in hospital.

She rushed to the hospital and was told that the child had suffered fractures to the head, rib, hand and leg. Chimutsinga was told by her older child that the toddler was assaulted on different occasions.

She rushed to ZRP Epworth and reported the matter. Police officers recorded statements from neighbours on how Musvita ill-treated the child. They said the child was assaulted and ordered to stand under a tree for long periods so that she doesn’t soil her clothes.
Musvita surrendered herself to the police on Christmas Day.