‘Whip marks’ on child’s body came from UTH, stepmom tells court

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THE LUSAKA woman currently on trial on charges of assaulting her four-year-old step son has now changed her defense, this time claiming that the whip marks on the child’s tiny body were bed sores which developed on his body when he was admitted to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH).

Longwe Ngosa claimed that the child had maintained the same sleeping position during his stay in hospital when he broke his hand and as a result developed bed sores.

In this case Ngosa is charged with assault on a child which attracts a sentence of five years.

When she opened her defense early this month, Ngosa had told magistrate Mutinta Mwenya that the boy’s teacher, Naomi Chisola who brought the story to the public, was responsible for all the all torture marks on his tiny body.

Ngosa said her stepson had confided in her of having been whipped by Chisola, for defecating and urinating in his pants at school.

In continuing with her defense, Ngosa could not stick to her version of the boy having been tortured by his teacher but instead claimed the marks came from UTH.

She also alleged that the abrasions on his seemingly ballooned tummy was as a reaction to some food he is allergic to which he might have consumed from school.

Ngosa said when she was taken to Matero Police Station by military police officers, the arresting officer charged her with unlawful wounding, which she later changed and charged her with assault on a child.

“When I asked her why she changed, she said she had no evidence to show the weapon I used. I asked her why and she said she was just following orders,”she said.

Ngosa said that she took the child in as her own when he was a year old in 2021 and she has been taking good care of him since then.

“I have always considered him as my child and not my stepson. I have always been taking care of him and giving him the support he needs as a child. And even the time he was brought home, it was my decision to bring him home so that I can raise him from there,” she said.

“The marks on the back, he obtained them when he was admitted to UTH after he broke his leg. He developed sore beds due to the position he was told to sleep in. And due to that position he developed bed sores. After he obtained bed sores, the doctor recommended me to buy the cream I came with last time to avoid him having more bed sores.”

She said the other sores on his stomach were as a result of an allergy as he ate relish which he is allergic to.

“What I know is that when a child is taken to school and the teacher discovers marks or change of character, they report to the school authority. When they report to the school authority, they are supposed to call me and question me but there was nothing like that, I was never called,” she claimed.

“On August 4,2023, I told my eldest son that I wanted to speak to the school authority about the beatings my son got from school. I went the following day I asked a teacher if at all he had seen my son behaving strangely at school. She said there was nothing like that but she said every time she went to his classroom, she would find him standing while all his friends were sitting. She also said he would talk to no one for a long period of time.”

Coming to the reporting of the case, when something happens at camp, cases are supposed to be reported to the provost office.

Ngosa said she wondered who gave Chisola authority to get her step son from class and take him to the director’s house.

“It only shows that even the time she beat my son, she used to take him to the directors house. And for her to keep quiet to the school means she was keeping something. She decided to report in secret because she knew she was guilty. She was supposed to inform the school and they summon me,” said Ngosa.

“Coming to where I stay, the houses are close to each other. And if my son obtained the beatings from my home, the neighbours would know about it and there is no way I can beat that child. I would know that I was going to put myself at risk and because I took him to school, it means I have nothing to hide. If there was something strange happening from home, people would have noticed.”

In cross examination by State prosecutor Malama Chisenga, the accused confirmed that the child had a cut on his face and abrasions on different parts of the body.

Asked if she complained to the school about the injuries that the little boy sustained, Ngosa denied.

When asked if the child was diagnosed with bed sores by a medical personnel, the accused responded in the negative.

Ngosa denied having a good relationship with the child’s teacher Chisola.

Magistrate Mwenya has set March 11, 2024 for judgement.

By Mwaka Ndawa

Kalemba February 29, 2024.

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