A SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD maid of Lusaka is on the verge of going to a correctional facility for five years after pleading guilty to pouring hot water on a year-old baby who was in her care.
When she first appeared before Lusaka magistrate Nsunge Chanda last week, the juvenile told the court that she poured hot water on the baby because the boy soiled on itself.
The girl, from 10 Miles, further told the court that she also slapped the child and that this incident happened when she was about to cook nshima.
She is now facing an assault on a child charge which attracts up to five years imprisonment. On January 9 this year, in Lusaka, the teenager assaulted a child below the age of 16 and occasioned him actual bodily harm. The case was reported to the police by the victim's mother, Esther Chibuye.
Yesterday, the case came up for reading of facts and sentencing. And the facts are that on the material day, Ms Chibuye left her child with the maid and went out on an errand. Around 15:30 hours, Ms Chibuye's neighbour telephoned her and asked her to urgently return to her house, and on arrival, she found her baby crying.
When she asked the girl why the child was in tears, the caregiver was mute. At this point, another child informed Ms Chibuye that the girl had poured hot water on the baby after he defecated on himself. The woman reported the matter to the police and the juvenile was apprehended and taken to Chingwere Police Post.
In mitigation, the girl asked for forgiveness because she wants to return to school. Magistrate Chanda will not sentence the juvenile offender until she ascertains the condition of the baby.
She also wondered why the juvenile offender, who should not have been allowed to be a maid, can harbour anger on a baby. Magistrate Chanda then asked the girl's stepfather what kind of upbringing he gave her to exhibit resentment on a baby.
"It shows that you have not been looking after her well for her not to have mercy on the baby…worse, you cannot get hot water and pour on a baby," the magistrate said.
In response, the juvenile's stepfather said that she was raised by several people, among them her grandparents.
He was also ignorant that she was working as a maid. Magistrate Chanda ordered that Ms Chibuye be summoned to enable the court to have sight of the baby's injuries.
"I want to see the baby so that the social welfare can tell us how they are keeping this baby," she said and adjourned the case to March 25 this year.