” It is painful to imagine what wrong such a young child did to be punished that way,” said Charlotte Lihaka as she broke down into tears in the voice note she send to Zimlife.
Charlotte is an auntie to Lovejoy, a seven year old girl currently at Harare hospital with her mother where she is getting medical attention after she was allegedly severely burnt by her step mother in Murewa. Before getting medical help, her wounds had started turning green.
In her narration, Charlotte says Lovejoy together with her brother grew up under the care of their martenal grandmother after their parents separated due to irreconcilable differences. “Since Lovejoy was nearly two years old together with her brother, they have been staying with our mother. We took care of everything from food, clothing and school fees with no help from from their partenal side, ” she explained.
Father calls out of the blue that he wants his children
It is said that in June 2020, the father of the two children called their martenal grandmother and said he wanted to come and take them. “Even though I raised these children without the help from their blood family, I could not refuse him his children. So he took them saying he was going to Clair near Bocha in Mutare where he comes from. But it wasn’t so as he took the children to Murewa where he stays with his other wife,” elaborated gogo Lihaka.
She said after three weeks of the children going with their father, her daughter (mother to Lovejoy) called her saying Lovejoy had been burnt on the hand but it wasn’t serious. “
“She then called after a week saying Lovejoy was now in Mbare at her uncle’s ( young brother to her father) and she was said to be alright. After a month we were told Lovejoy is serious in Mbare and I called and was told her condition was not pleasant. I asked what happened and was told her step mom was responsible for her burns.”
Lovejoy taken to 24hr but not helped because of no police report
Young Lovejoy was then taken to 24hr in St Marys, Chitungwiza but they could not attend to her requiring a police report first. She was then taken home where a doctor was found who was attending Lovejoy at home in Mbare. ” After four days I got a call from my daughter and she told me Lovejoy was now admitted at Harare hospital. I also asked of the police report and she said there was some exchange of money for the young girl to be assisted.”
Lovejoy’s serious wounds that had turned green
“I got calls from Girl Child, Justice for Children, Shamwari yeMwana and a policeman promising that they were going to help with Lovejoy’s case but that was just promises never to be realised. We then went to see Mhepera (supposedly a police officer) who promised to take up the case to the commissioner,” she went on.
She lamented lack of support from anyone including the family that has the same blood with Lovejoy. “My daughter is seeing to herself alone that her daughter, Lovejoy, gets food to eat as nobody is helping in anyway. Lovejoy’s father is said to have gone to look for a job in the farms.”
Lovejoy’s mother receives threats
After Lovejoy got admitted in dubious ways without a police report at Harare Hospital, it is said that some police officers visited the mother, took statements and some would come threatening her not to pursue seeking justice for the little girl. Lovejoy’s family is said also to have been calling asking why there was movement in seeking justice for her when she was getting medical help. It is also said that there came two dubious nurses who threatened Lovejoy’s mother and accused her of misusing money (US$200) that was meant to pay for blood as she required a blood transfusion. It is said these two nurses were later disowned by other nurses at Harare Hospital as they said they didn’t know them. An uncle to Lovejoy also reported the issue to Childline but nothing was done. Some journalists also pursued the case but that was just that, nothing came out of it.
“All we want is justice for Lovejoy. She is young and is suffering. Imagine with all these wounds, her brother says she was being send to look after the gardens. This is really painful, ” said her tearful auntie in a whatsapp voice note.
This is a developing story and will continue digging for more information.