A court in Blantyre has sentenced a divorced couple to 30 months imprisonment with hard labour for failing to supply necessities to their own children.
According to Ndirande police public relations officer Sergeant Kelvin Nyirenda, the convicts has been identified as Innocent Malefula and his ex-wife Tiyanjane Malefula, 37.
Sergeant Nyirenda said the court heard through State prosecutor, Mark Kavalo of Ndirande police station that Malefula separated with his wife a few years ago and left her with three children aged 10, 8, and 6.
The woman then entered into another serious love affair with a certain man who bore her another child who is one and half year old but the new couple separated as well.
The court was also told that having seen that she could not make ends meet for her four children, Tiyanjane left the children alone and went to Ntcheu to search for some piece works a development which saw the 10 years old girl assume the role of the head of the family.
It is reported that upon seeing this development, some well-wishers informed the social welfare office whose officials visited the family and decided to admit the children into child care institutions for care and protection.
When the matter was reported to police, investigations were carried out which led to the arrest of the mother on December 30, 2020.
In court, the mother of the four admitted the offence of deserting children which the court found her guilty and sentenced her to 2 years imprisonment with hard labour.
In his ruling, senior resident magistrate Akya Mwanyongo mentioned that the responsibility of taking care of the children does not only rest in the hands of the mother but that the father is equally responsible.
He therefore directed that Malefula should be traced and brought before court to answer the same charge. This led to the arrest of the offender who is a businessman in Blantyre market.
On August 17, 2021, Malefula appeared before the second-grade magistrate Mercy Katunga to answer the charge of failing to supply necessities to children which is contrary to Section 165 of the Penal code.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge which prompted the State to parade witnesses and the court later found him guilty and sentenced him to 30 (thirty) months imprisonment with hard labour.
Innocent Malefula hails from Maseya village in the area of Traditional Authority Makhuwila in Chikwawa district while Tiyanjane Malefula comes from Kamakoko village in the area of Traditional Authority Makwangwala in Ntcheu district.