THE Chipata High Court has handed a Vubwi couple and one other person nine months suspended sentence for attempting to procure an abortion by inserting a cassava stick into the private part of a pregnant girl.
Lusaka judge Kazimbe Chenda, who is sitting in Chipata, convicted and jailed Regina Zulu, Abraham Sakala and Jasinta Mwale after they pleaded guilty to one count of attempt to procure an abortion contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
According to facts presented by State advocate Sydney Siafwa on September 9, 2019, Sakala and Mwale, a couple of Chikoma One village in chief Pembamoyo, Vubwi District, discovered that
their 16-year-old daughter was pregnant for a married man.
Siafwa stated that the couple visited Regina Zulu of Kalikonge village and requested her services in helping their daughter abort the pregnancy to which she agreed.
“The following day 10th September 2019, they again went to see Regina Zulu accompanied by their daughter whom they convinced to abort.
Sakala remained by the roadside while his wife and the daughter entered one of the rooms where the abortion process was commenced by Regina Zulu who inserted a cassava stick into her vagina. The same day in the night she started experiencing stomach pains and bleeding to which she took five tablets she was given by Zulu as directed,” he
Siafwa stated that the following day Zulu visited the couple and indicated that the police had information about what transpired.
He stated that after getting the information that the police where aware of the issue, the couple decided to hide the daughter at her aunty’s palace at Kalabe village.
Siafwa said the three convicts were later arrested by police.
He stated that the girl was found and was subjected to medical examination by Dr Robert Kumwenda of Chipata Central Hospital who confirmed that the girl had an incomplete abortion.
In a lengthy mitigation, senior Legal Aid counsel Crippen Siatwinda said Regina was 50 years old and had three children who were in school.
Siatwinda said Zulu was a breadwinner of her family adding that she was the first offender who readily pleaded guilty.
He said Zulu was completely ignorant of the law regarding such issues but indicated that ignorance of the law was no defence.
Siatwinda said Zulu thought she was doing a service for the couple, which wanted to serve the best interest of the child.
He said if given a second chance, she would be an ambassador who would be sensitising the whole village about the dangers of such actions.
On the couple, Siatwinda said it had six children and that the girl in question was the first born and the youngest child was six years old.
He said five of the children were in school.
Siatwinda said the two did not waste court’s time by readily pleading guilty.
“The parents were extremely taken aback when they heard that their daughter was pregnant because this was going to shutter her dreams.
The person who impregnated her was a village headman who was officially married to one wife but has several women. They said they were scared to approach the headman as he was feared at the village. They feared that if they attempted to approach him, they were going to be evicted from the village,” he said.
Siatwinda pleaded with the court to take the totality of circumstances surrounding the matter before meting out an appropriate sentence.
And judge Chenda said there were no aggravating circumstances into the matter adding that the child was alive.
He said a stiff punishment could affect their families.