CONCEALING the birth and burying a newborn baby in a shallow grave landed three Marange women in trouble after they were arrested and charged with infanticide and murder respectively.
Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Luxson Chananda confirmed the incident and said the three women, Moreblessing Sharata, her mother, Chipo Sharata and Chipo’s sister, Jane Mberezenga of Munyoro and Dzingai villages respectively are assisting police with investigations.
He said after conducting a home delivery, Moreblessing, Chipo and Mberezenga connived and strangled the newborn baby, before burying the body in a shallow grave while wrapped in a plastic bag.
The baby was buried at Dzingai Village, while Moreblessing and her mother stay in Munyoro Village.
Moreblessing is being charged with infanticide, while Chipo and Mberezenga are facing murder charges.
The cat was let out of the bag by fellow villagers a week after the secret burial of the baby when three pairs of footprints were discovered at the shallow grave.
Villagers who spoke to The Weekender, said Moreblessing tried to conceal the pregnancy for nine months, but elderly villagers suspected that she was pregnant.
Village head Dzingai’s son, Mbengo Baiso was part of the villagers who saw the footprints and suspected foul play.
“We informed Village-head Dzingai about our discovery and he summoned Mberezenga to his place. At first she denied that a pair of footprints we had discovered were hers, but when we measured them, with her feet, they rightly fitted in.
“We interrogated her until after midnight when she eventually confessed and told us that the other footprints belonged to Moreblessing and Chipo. She led us to where they had buried the baby,” said Baiso.
Mberezenga exhumed the baby, while an angry mob of villagers from both Munyoro and Dzingai villages demanded instant justice on the three women.
Police took away the corpse for a post-mortem.
Clara Munyoro of Munyoro Village, said after hearing that Moreblessing had given birth, they went to the Sharata homestead with presents, but were turned away by Chipo saying her daughter was never pregnant.
She said this was after Moreblessing had sent her friend who stays in the same village a text message informing her that she had given birth to a baby boy.
“After we saw that she was no longer pregnant last week, we went to their homestead with presents, but Chipo turned us away.
“She claimed that Moreblessing had been eating too much, thus the protruding stomach. We went back home with our presents, but that did not stop our suspicions of foul play,” said Munyoro.
She said they had also gathered that Mberezenga had on numerous occasions unsuccessfully tried to terminate Moreblessing’s pregnancy.
“After the failed abortions, they subjected Moreblessing to house arrest. Chipo would occasionally assault Moreblessing and when asked her why she was assaulting a pregnant person, she would say she (Moreblessing) was a gormandiser and should desist from eating too much food,” said Munyoro.
Another villager, Anna Katema said one villager heard a baby crying from the Sharata homestead despite Chipo’s denial.
The villagers decided to form a search party for the dumped baby in the bushes, but found nothing.
However, people in the neighbouring Dzingai Village later discovered the shallow grave.