Couple steals food to save starving children

MASVINGO - A rural couple, stalked by hunger, was recently forced to break into their neighbour’s granary to steal maize to feed their starving children.

They also made away with a goat, a Masvingo court heard yesterday.

The couple, Clifford Mugawa ,34, and his wife Alice Manzunzu, were lucky to escape jail after they pleaded with Masvingo magistrate Oliver Mudzongachiso for lenience. They told the court that they were forced to steal their neighbour’s maize and grain in order to  save their children from starvation as hunger  tightens its grip in most parts of Masvingo rural.

Mudzongachiso understood the couple’s plight and wholly suspended a one month jail term for the couple. The magistrate fined them $60 each after he convicted them for theft.

Mugawa and his wife did not waste the court’s time and immediately pleaded guilty. They said they committed the crime to save their children from dying.

“Taida kuponesa vana vanga vofa nezhara yangayapinda mumba (We wanted to save our children who were threatened with starvation),” Manzunzu told the court.

Prosecutor Makanaka Chikamhi told the court that on June 26 last year, the couple which resides at plot 19 Boranair Farm in Masvingo East, woke up in the dead of the night and approached their neighbour, Maxwell Mutasa’s homestead on the same farm and broke into his granary.

The husband and wife stole 120kg of maize worth $48 before stealing Mutasa’s goat worth $40.

Mutasa woke up the following night and realised that his granary had been broken into while he was asleep and that one of his she-goats was missing.

He reported the matter to the police leading to investigations and searches on the farm. Mugawa and his wife were found with the maize and were arrested.

Mudzongachiso however, considered the couple’s plea and commutted his sentence to a fine saying the two had done so in a bid to save the life of their minors who had gone for days without having a meal.


Comments (4)

A bold and wise judgement. I am sure the ordeal of arrest and trial is enough in itself to deter the couple from committing a similar offense.

Analyst - 26 March 2014

Lazy couple, good parents teach children to work, ariko maricho, wopiwa zviyo, vana vodya.

Don Wezhira - 26 March 2014

@Don Wezhira. This case does not easily translate to say this couple is lazy. Even maricho (piece jobs) are hard to come by in this hostile economic environment we are under. Thank you magistrate for the fair judgement although I really wonder how they will be able to raise the $60 when they can not even feed their children.

Dr Know - 26 March 2014

@Dr Know, Agreed Sir, but for a couple to agree to such a silly plan and go execute it is not Chikaranga, this obviously was not the first time. What are they teaching their children?

Don Wezhira - 26 March 2014

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