Home » Human Rights » Woman Laments Loss of Child

Twenty-one-year-old Natasha Chikwanha from the sprawling suburb of Chitungwiza spends sleepless nights wondering if her son Carlos is alive.

For the past 10 months since that fateful day when her son was snatched away by some stranger, Natasha has not known peace and she worries about the welfare of her baby.

“He was only a month old when he was stolen but not a day passes without me brooding over the loss,” she said.

Her life revolves around the search for her son and her family has rallied around her with moral support, but the void cannot be filled until she has her Carlos in her arms.

Narrating her ordeal from her grandmother’s home in Highfield, Natasha said she was not feeling well on the day in question.

“It was on June 25 last year and I was not feeling well so I went to Harare Hospital with Carlos on my back,” she said.

After receiving medical attention, she rested on a bench as she was feeling dizzy and a bit disoriented.

“There was this woman who was also sitting on the same bench and she was very kind to me, inquiring what was wrong with me with a lot of concern,” Natasha said.

When she finally left the hospital after feeling g enough to travel, the stranger offered to carry Carlos and the two boarded a commuter omnibus into town.

“All the way the woman kept talking to someone on her cellphone but I did not really suspect anything and besides, I was too weak to be bothered by that,” she said regrettably.

When they arrived into town, the woman convinced her to pass through the Gulf Complex where she said she wanted to collect some money from a friend.

“When we got to the Gulf flea market, she initially went inside and came back with my son still strapped on her back. She gave me a dollar and said I should buy a drink and some chips and wait for her while she went back inside to look for her friend,” Natasha recounted.

“That was the last I saw of that woman. She never came back and after searching for her in vain, I made a report to police that were patrolling in the vicinity and they immediately shut both entrances to the flea market.”

The search yielded nothing and at the end of the day, a distraught Natasha went home without her baby.

“From that day, we have held endless prayers for him. I went up many hills and prayed fervently hoping one day my son would be found,” she said.

As if in answer to her prayers, early this year she was informed that a baby had been dumped at a church in town.

“I went to Shungu Dzevana Children’s Home where the baby was being kept. I described him to the staff and told them about a scar that he has on his arm,” she said.

Natasha was shown several babies and she picked out one that she says was her lost son.

“I just knew that it was my boy and even though he was wearing a jersey that covered both his arms and the scar was not visible, I just knew he was mine,” she said with tears filling up her eyes.

Natasha said it was a miracle moment for her and husband Tichaona Chako. However, their joy was shortlived as they were told another couple was also claiming parentage of the same child.

“But that did not dampen my hope. I was totally convinced the baby was mine and did not feel worried at all. Even when paternity tests were requested, I did not doubt that the child was mine,” she said.

Two weeks ago on a Friday, Natasha said she received a phone call from Childline informing her that the results were out and that she should prepare to collect her child.

“We gathered around and prayed giving thanks to the Lord. My son was finally coming home,” she said.

But unbeknown to me, something had gone horribly wrong. Her score of 95% fell short of the State requirement which needed her to score at least 98 or 99% blood similarity with the child.

“They said there was a possibility that I was the mother but the law required a higher score for me to be declared the mother without any doubt,” Natasha said.

On being contacted for comment on the issue, the public relations officer for Childline, Patience Chiyangwa could neither confirm nor deny the organisation’s involvement in the identity tests for the child.

“Childline believes that all children have a right to parental support and we encourage parents to live with and to bring up their children in a positive manner and protect children from abuse. Childline does not provide DNA testing,” she said.

Heartbroken and feeling cheated, Natasha and her husband had to suspend reclaiming the baby but say they are even more determined to prove that the child is Carlos. They are now looking for money, about US$170 required for more paternity tests.

“We are appealing for funds so that Tichaona can go for further tests. Justice for Children assisted with the costs for the first tests but now we have to raise the money ourselves,” she said.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard