Flora Fadzai Sibanda, Chronicle Reporter
TWENTY-four-year-old Charlene Moyo from Mahatshula suburb, Bulawayo is in distress as she has not seen her daughter for almost three months now after her baby’s paternal grandmother took her to South Africa without her consent.
Charlene says baby Milan Moyo (3) was taken by her grandmother Ms Clara Ndlovu under the pretext of wanting to spend a few days with her, but it’s now months.
Police confirmed the case and said investigations are underway.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is also handling the case.
Ms Moyo separated with her child’s father, Mr Tatenda Bhanhire nearly three years ago.
She told Chronicle that she only agreed that her child could go with her grandmother for a few days because they have always been in good books for the sake of her baby’s welfare.
She said a few days after giving Ms Ndlovu the child she received a WhatsApp message of the child sitting in a kombi with other children from Mr Bhanhire’s relative and was told her daughter had gone to visit her father in South Africa.
The woman said she questioned the grandmother on why she had sent her child to South Africa without her consent and without proper documents as she had the passports.
She later discovered that the grandmother had also gone to South Africa.
“When l asked Gogo Clara about her decision she hushed me and promised the child will come after two weeks. I agreed because she sounded sincere. However, when the two weeks elapsed l decided to contact the father of my child and l asked him when they were going to bring her back. That is when he told me it was now his turn to keep the child and he deserved to have full custody over the child just like l do,” said Ms Moyo.
She said she was surprised because the man had allegedly been not supporting her daughter ever since she was born.
“As it is l don’t know who she stays with when the father is at work. What makes me angry is they made my daughter cross the border without proper papers. The human rights lawyers and the police have been working tirelessly to try and engage the father and grandmother so that they can bring my daughter back, however, it has been to no avail,” she said.
“I don’t want anything from Tatenda and his family but just to get my daughter back. What makes me sad is the fact that l have never refused to give the grandmother my daughter for visits despite the fact that the father doesn’t support her and her birth certificate is only in my name because he refused to cooperate so that we could take it for her but now this is what they are doing to me, by taking my daughter without my permission.”
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights projects officer Mrs Prisca Dube said they are handling the human trafficking case.
‘‘The law is very clear regarding children. In this case, this child is undocumented and is a minor so the mother is the sole custodian of the child unless the father comes forward or the child is born in a marriage. Our client has since tried to get full custody of the child however the courts could not help her as there was no one they could serve the papers since the father is in South Africa” said Mrs Dube.
Chronicle contacted Mr Bhanhire but he declined to comment.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said they are investigating the case as the mother had reported the matter.