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Infant drowns, one of several in Masvingo


Masvingo (Masvingo Star-New Ziana) – An infant aged one year and eight months drowned in a water canal in Mkwasine Estates, Mwenezi after being accidentally dropped into the water by his five-year-old brother as he tried to cross the canal while following their mother to the fields.

The incident, which occurred on November 9, is one of a spate of drownings that have hit Masvingo over the past month with as many as five people reported to have died in different water bodies around the province.

On November 2, Munashe Nhira, (10), of Mhike Village, Chief Zimuto, Masvingo, drowned as he and playmates were swimming in a local dam to try and beat the heat that had gripped the country.

Nhira’s drowning on around 1 pm at Gokomere High Farm followed that of seven-year-old Obey Mugarabhi of Gondovori Village, Headman Chipindu, Chief Chivi, in a large pool along the Tugwi River on October 25.

The incident happened after Obey and his 12-year-old cousin, who was playing around the homestead under the watch of their grandfather, Nelson Hakurimwi, (67), left their village to cool off the afternoon heat in a pool along the river.

In Nhira’s case, he teamed up with two other 10-year-olds and another aged 11 to go swimming and fishing.

However, Nhira failed to swim after he drifted to deeper water at the centre of the dam.

His friends failed to help him and they went to inform his uncle, Clemence Bonga, (56), who then teamed up with other villagers to go and search for him at the dam.

The body surfaced on top of the water after four hours and the team managed to retrieve it.

Another drowning was to be reported in Ndonde Village, Chief Budzi, Bikita, when Luckson Nemachakwe, (15), died in Mvuramashava Dam on November 9.

He and a friend aged 14 from a neighbouring village decided to go swimming in the dam around 1pm when Nemachakwe failed to swim in two-metre deep water and drowned.

His friend went home to inform Nemachakwe’s grandmother, Remekedzai Maruki, (55), who then made a report at ZRP Chikuku Base.

In Gutu, an apostolic church sect baptism ceremony on November 4 turned tragic when Priviledge Mabasa, (26), who was being baptized with other congregants, drowned in Mutorahuku River, Mambayo, Chief Gutu.

Confirming the incident, Masvingo police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Kudakwashe Dhewa said that around 10am, Mabasa from Maswera Village went to the river with other members of her church that included Benson Mutuzungara, (35), from Mambayo Village, Tendai Chembeu, (20), from Maswera Village and Stan Tawarwisa, (62), from Tasara Village for a baptism ceremony.

When they got to the river, Mutuzungara and Mabasa got into the water and started the baptism and went underwater only for Mutuzungara to surface on the other side of the river bank but Mabasa remained under water and drowned.

On the following day around 4pm, Mabasa’s body was found floating in the river by Irikidzai, (32), who was looking for his cattle and he reported the matter to other villagers.

On November 6, Charles Mannie, (74), from Chirongoma, Chief Chiwara, Gutu, then made a report at Gutu Police Station and the police attended the scene and the body was taken to Gutu mortuary for postmortem.

In the Mkwasine infant’s drowning, the incident occurred on November 9 between 6.15am and 7.45am at Paddock 13, Section 24 along J2 canal near G3 Dam.

The boys’ mother, Shumirai Nzou, (25), left the two children in the custody of a 13-year-old neighbour as she went to the fields.

The neighbour later decided to look for relish in her family field and left the two children unattended at home.

The older child then thought of following the mother to the fields and carried his little brother along.

On reaching the canal across which a log was used as a bridge, the five-year-old failed to hold onto his infant brother who fell into the canal and was swept away.

The older brother then rushed home to inform the neighbor in whose care they had been left but could not find her.

A woman from another village, Alice Mberengo, (51), of Rumurai Village, Section 15, discovered the infant’s body trapped at the canal sump after she had gone fishing along the fast flowing man-made river.

She rushed back home to alert the other villagers amongst whom was the infant’s father who then identified the body as belonging to his child.

A post mortem was waved by Magistrate Mutsotso allowing the child to be buried.

Asst Insp urged parents and guardians to ensure that children are supervised by older people whenever they go swimming.

“We encourage parents to prohibit children to swim in the absence of life savers,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a separate tragic incident, a six-year-old girl was struck and killed by a vehicle at the 99km peg along the Ngundu Tanganda road on October 7.

The driver, Pamela Kawadza (38), from Hatfield, was driving a Nissan NP 200 owned by CIMAS around 2.30pm travelling towards Chiredzi with one passenger on board.

On approaching the 99km peg, she saw Pauline Chauke, (6), who was coming from school trying to cross the road and hit her with her car.

The young girl died on the spot after sustaining a deep cut on the forehead and bruises on both legs.

A report was made to Chiredzi police and the body was taken to Chiredzi General Hospital for post mortem.
Masvingo Star-New Ziana

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