Leonard Ncube
A JUDGE has warned parents who beat up their children not to expect leniency from the courts. Justice Martin Makonese of the Bulawayo High Court, on circuit in Hwange, yesterday said corporal punishment on children was unjustified.

He spoke as he convicted Qiniso Sibanda, 24, of Lusulu in Binga of culpable homicide after fatally assaulting his six-year-old stepdaughter.

Sibanda was sentenced to an effective seven years in prison.

Sibanda saw red after his step-daughter went to play at a neighbour’s house, the court heard.

Makonese said: “This form of child abuse is becoming common these days. Parents or guardians who abuse children should expect harsh sentences. Such brutality on a young person can’t be tolerated in this modern society and such behaviour is deplorable and calls for an appropriate stiff sentence.

“This girl’s only crime was that she wasn’t home when the stepfather looked for her.”

The judge, in passing sentence, credited Sibanda for pleading guilty, while also noting that he was a young offender.

“However, your conduct of assaulting the child and dumping her body can’t be accepted,” the judge told Sibanda.

For the State, Namatirai Ngwasha told the court that on December 29 last year, the girl’s mother Sithembile Manyathela, left her daughter in the company of Sibanda as she left home.

When Sibanda wanted to go to work and could not find the little girl, Linda Bongiwe Manyathela, who had gone to play with her peers, he lost his rag.

Sibanda found the girl at her uncle’s homestead in the same village. He used a switch and an unknown object to assault his stepdaughter until she fell unconscious.

The court heard that Sibanda carried the girl and dumped her at his mother, Monica Sibanda’s homestead where he left her in the kitchen hut.

Monica found the lifeless girl in the kitchen and tried to render first aid to no avail. A post-mortem showed she died from head injuries.

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