Forty five year old man, MacDonald Makwangwala from Chilomoni Township in Blantyre has taken the Blantyre Social Welfare office to Court for what he calls ‘abduction’ of his two children.
Makwangwala said he has summoned the social welfare office through Blantyre Child Justice Court for taking custody of his children without his consent. The matter is set for hearing on September 16 2016.
Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula asked to be given time before commenting on the matter for he was out of the office.
On Thursday last week, officers from Blantyre Social Welfare and four armed police officers raided Makwangwala’s house and took Makwangwala’s 11-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son while he was away doing business place in the Central Business District.
According to assistant social welfare officer for Blantyre, Chikumbutso Salifu, the action was taken after receiving numerous reports that the children were being abused by their father.
Salifu said his office obtained a court order to rescue the children from whatever danger they were in and to pave way for law enforcers to conduct their investigations smoothly.
Said Salifu: “What people should know is that before a child becomes yours, it belongs to the government. We as the social welfare office have an obligation to protect children, assume parental role through what we call guardian ad litem,” he said.
Salifu indicated that after visiting the house a number of times, they found out that as soon as they come back from school, the children lock themselves up and ‘other serious forms of abuses that we are yet to prove. We are concerned with this situation and we want the whole issue to be investigated for further action”
But Makwangala said he advises the children to stay indoors for safety reasons and to keep them from copying bad behaviour from other children in the neighbourhood.
“I have raised these children alone for 8 years since I and their mother divorced. My son was only a year old by then and I have suffered to reach this far, how can somebody accuse me of abusing my own children, the children I love so much,” said Makwangwala adding that the mother of the children re-married and lives in South Africa.
Some neighbours The Nation Online interviewed expressed concern over the welfare of the children saying they hardly interact with other people and skip lunch most of the times because food is prepared only when their father is back from his business.
“And rumours are all over that he sexually abuses the small girl, we cannot substantiate these rumours because we do not have courage to ask her for fear of his father’s rough, it is good that these matters be investigated” said one of the neighbours who asked for anonymity.
Both Makwangwala’s brother Themba and some authorities from the children’s school said they neither noticed anything strange from the children nor did they receive any complaint from the children about being ill-treated by their father.