It is market day in Golomoti, Dedza, a day when business of nearly everything flourishes.
Because an early bird catches the worm, 26-year-old Esther leaves at six with a basket full of tomatoes to sell to support her family.
A mother of two from her first marriage, Esther leaves behind warm bathing water and breakfast for her husband and the children.
She gives special instructions to Patuma, the eldest child to watch her brother who is physically challenged.
Esther assures the family she would be back in time to organise the second meal of the day.
After their baths and breakfast, the children play. A knock disturbs them.
Someone offers Patuma a piece work to wash clothes. She leaves.
Upon return, Patuma sees her stepfather coming out the room she had left her brother. She is shocked to find the three-year-old boy dead, wrapped in a cloth.
Neighbours are called and an autopsy conducted at Mua Mission Hospital later shows the death was due to strangulation.
Meanwhile at the market, Esther was reluctant to return home when called as she insisted on selling all her merchandise first—until she was bluntly told the news.
She could not believe that the suspect was none other than her 29-year-old husband.
Executive director of the Family Rights, Elderly and Child Protection (Frechi) condemned the toddler’s murder.
“We are disturbed by the murder of the three-year-old child with disability in Dedza. What has mostly shocked us is the revelation that the innocent child has been murdered by a stepfather. We condemn that in the strongest terms,” she said.
Tembenu said it was disappointing that some cruel (step) fathers can resort to killing children without mercy, thereby, violating their right to life.
She said: “We urge single mothers not to rush into marriages. They must take their time to study the man they want to marry before entering into marriage.”
Dedza Police deputy spokesperson Cassim Manda who confirmed Kachingwe’s arrest said the incident happened on July 23 2020 at Pitala Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kachindamoto. He said the suspect was charged with murder.
“We are yet to establish the motive, but during the statement recording, Esther alleged that her son used to look scared every time the husband appeared,” he said.
Tembenu warns that women ought to be very watchful to their children.
“If a woman notices fear in a child whenever they are close to any person, they must find out why that is happening and act.
In Chikwawa, police are looking for suspects into the brutal murder of a five-year-old boy in Bankamu Village in T/A Chapananga on July 22 2020.
Deputy spokesperson for Chikwawa Police Station Dickson Matemba said the boy’s body, who was a Standard One pupil at Dzinthenga Primary School, was dumped in a garden with his private parts removed.
The deceased’s uncle, Safunika Biliat said the boy went out to a video show at around 1900 hours and never returned home.
Postmortem revealed death was due to bleeding from deep cuts hesusustained and police are appealing to the public for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators.
Tembenu has challenged law enforcers to professionally deal with the alleged murder cases by committing suspects to court for justice.
She also cautioned women to refrain from applying for either withdraws or closure of cases where their husbands have violated the rights of their children.
In his reaction, executive director of Muslims Forum for Democracy and Peace, Sheikh Jaafar Kawinga, said wheels of justice should move in the two murder cases.