A woman is living like a fugitive after allegedly defying her husband’s incessant demands to sacrifice their nine-year month baby for riches.
Elizabeth Munthali, 23, escaped her marriage of seven years in Luzi, Rumphi, on Thursday morning admittedly because she could no longer stand her love-turned-nemesis Gift Ngoma pressuring her to kill their nine-month-old child in an effort to jump-start a business of tomatoes, onions and cabbages.
The mother of two needed a K700 loan to escape the bizarre get-rich-quick ritual, but it was just enough to take her to Mzuzu Bus Depot where police officers on the prowl referred her to the Department of Social Welfare which admitted being financially crippled to come to her rescue.
Amid sobs, the tearful woman narrated: “The man, who grows and sells vegetables at Luzi, started pressing me to kill the baby when I was only three months pregnant.
“Little did I know he was seeing witchdoctors when he told me to abort because he needed the unborn baby to boost our business. I refused and ran away to my mother in Embangweni where I battled with sleepless nights and anemia until I gave birth.”
However, she cursed herself for returning to him because the childbirth, which was supposed to be a cause of celebration in her on-and-off marriage dating back to 2007, was no end to the man’s “evil scheme”.
Apart from appreciating the sanctity of life, the woman said she could not stomach killing the baby boy as she is the only child to her mother and the grandmother who raised her singlehandedly, treasures the grandchildren as her own.
Munthali was in Form One at Bolero Community Day Secondary School when she met Ngoma “looking innocent like any other”. She eloped with him the following year when she was only 17 and the man a Form Two learner at Enukweni.
Ndagha Sikanda, communications officer for the Church and Society Programme of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, thanked Munthali for standing up for her rights and the life of the unsuspecting baby.
Promising to help the woman get justice, Sikanda asked girls to delay marriage and remain in school because education empowers them for self-reliance and the ability to safeguard themselves from abusive relationships.
The woman was relayed to the synod’s social arm by the assistant district social welfare officer M Chibwatiko.
In a letter, Chibwatiko asked Church and Society to assist her with transport to Embangweni because she had been deserted by her husband due to misunderstandings in their family and his whereabouts could not be traced.