That times are hard is not a matter of dispute; no person embodies the level of desperation—or plain stupidity—than 32-year-old Alfred John of Maweta Village in Traditional Authority Nsamala in Balaka.
On April 11, John approached a prominent businessman at Nayuchi in Machinga and offered to sell his fourth-born child—whether dead or alive—for K2 million.
“The businessman told John to bring the child alive the following day so that he should find a market for her. The businessman immediately reported the matter to police,” said Autillia Kumanga, spokesperson for the Eastern Region Police Headquarters, in an interview on Monday this week.
“John brought the child the following morning at around 8am to the house of the businessman and immediately the police arrested him,” she said.
He was tried at the Zomba Principal Resident Magistrate’s court for contravening Section 82(a) of Child Care, Protection and Justice Act.
In mitigation, John asked the court to exercise leniency on him when passing sentence saying poverty made him to offer his child for sale so he could to buy food and clothes for his family.
But passing sentence, Zomba principal resident magistrate, Gift Makanje, said as a father, John was responsible for the protection and care of the child but he neglected his role.
Makanje further said John did not care whether the child would have be raped, abused or killed.
“I, therefore, convict and sentence you to six years imprisonment with hard labour for you to reform as well as to act warn others who might wish to commit similar offences in future,” Makanje said.