GOKWE – A 29-year-old woman from Gokwe scalded her stepson, 9, with cooking oil for allegedly stealing maize grain, and then denied her medical treatment fearing her abuse would come to light, police said.
Progress Mushonga, from Murairwa Village under Chief Chireya, also blocked the boy from going to school after dipping his figure in boiling oil as punishment for the suspected offense.
The victim was said to have exchanged the maize grain for Jolly Jus, a powdered cool drink.
Midlands Provincial police spokesperson Emmanuel Mahoko told ZimLive that they were “investigating a physical abuse case where a 9-year-old male juvenile was burnt with boiling cooking oil after being accused of stealing maize by his stepmother.”
“It is alleged the complainant admitted to the accusations and stated that he had exchanged the maize grain for jolly juice and apologized. This did not go down well with the suspect who hurled insults at the juvenile,” Mahoko said.
He added: “It is further alleged that she went on to boil cooking oil in a pan and dipped the juvenile’s fingers into the boiling cooking oil. The suspect denied the complainant health care to treat the burns despite the fact that he had suffered severe injuries. She further did not allow him to go to school to allow the wounds to heal first.”
The provincial police spokesperson said the issue came to light after an anonymous tip-off that led police to raid Mushonga’s homestead and apprehend her.
The juvenile was referred to Gokwe Provincial hospital for treatment, Mahoko said, adding police were appealing to “guardians of young children to treat them with the utmost care, the same way they would do their own children. Any ill-treatment of young children, if detected, attracts serious consequences as prescribed by the law.”