A year in jail for baby snatcher

Christinah Motlhabane



A Zimbabwean woman who was found guilty of stealing a baby in Francistown has been sentenced to three years in prison, two of which were wholly suspend.

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34- year-old Monica Jarija had pleaded with the court to be lenient because she had acted out of desperation and societal pressure to have a baby of her own.

“I cannot bear children, and that did not sit well with me as I desperately wanted a child and ended up stealing the baby boy,” said Jarija in mitigation.

The presiding Magistrate, Thapelo Buang, however, reminded Jarija that infertility couldn’t be advanced as an excuse to steal another woman’s child.

Meanwhile the mother of the stolen baby who has since been reconciled with her boy, has expressed disappointment in what she views as a light sentence.

“That woman gave me sleepless nights, wondering if I would ever set eyes on my son again,” said Kelebogile Chiponye adding that she expected Jarija to be locked up for at least six years.

“The pain of going to bed not knowing where your child is, whether she was alive and if she was, whether she ate or not was unbearable. She made me angry to the core after she was arrested and kept lying to the police that the baby was hers and that she carried him for 10 months.

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“If I was next to her at that moment I would have taken the law into my hands and attacked her because she did not show any remorse at all,” said Chiponye, whose one month old baby, Karabo Chiponye was stolen on the 5th of March at Nswazwi mall in Francistown.

Posing as a Good Samaritan, Jarija had tricked Chiponye to go into town to buy the baby some clothes.

Jarija then executed her baby-snatching plan by convincing the mother to go into a supermarket so she could disappear with the baby.

She was later arrested in Gaborone after a tip off from a reader who saw her picture on Facebook and alerted The Voice journalist who then reported the matter to the police.

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