Editor's Comment

Savage guardians: Be warned

THE sentencing to six years imprisonment of a Zambia Air Force (ZAF) lieutenant for continuously torturing
her 11-year-old niece is a deserved punishment. It is also a stern warning to all savage guardians in the habit of abusing defenceless children.
It is also a reminder to guardians that having custody over children does not give them the right to treat such children in an inhuman manner.
What justification would anyone have for using boiling water and heated kitchen utensils to inflict plain on a child? None, whatsoever.
Our memories are still fresh the shocking revelations of the story when it broke out in 2018. The narration of the story was as though one was watching a horror movie.
The victim, a Grade Four pupil, narrated how the ZAF officer, Mildred Luwaile, her aunt, used to torture her on several occasions when she was under her custody.
The girl said the first time she was burnt was when Luwaile got upset after discovering that the child had eaten extra slices of bread. She told
the court that after Luwaile counted the remaining slices of bread, she tied her hands, put a knife on the stove which she later used to burn her on the hands and back. Honestly, burning a child over mere slices of bread?
On several occasions, Luwaile is also said to have burnt the girl using redhot spoons and knives as punishment for perceived delinquency.
The girl also told the court that she sustained a wound on her knee after Luwaile poured hot water on her in rage.
This was after the girl accidently dropped a bucket of hot water near her aunt’s one-year-old nephew, who never even came into contact with the spilt water.
When the torture became unbearable, the girl fled home on a rainy night of April 12, 2018, and went to hide in the ZAF ladies’ Mess, where she spent night.
This was when the case came to the attention of the law enforcers.
At the time of testifying in court the girl had a fresh wound on her knee and 30 scars of old burns inflicted on her by her aunt.
This is an apt description of what the Bible says, that the heart of man is desperately wicked.
It takes the highest level of emptiness of the soul to subject a defenceless child to such inhumane treatment.
Not even an animal deserves such treatment.
It is more disappointing that such callous behaviour is perpetuated by a woman, who by nature is supposed to be caring and loving.
No matter how deviant a child may be, they do not deserve to be treated in such a brutal manner.
While the Bible encourages parents and guardians alike to discipline children to prevent them from being spoiled, it does not mean torturing them.
In fact the kind of discipline the Bible talks about is one that is done in love and produces positive change in a child.
Biblically, recommended discipline does not injure the child but helps them distinguish between right and wrong thereby becoming better children.
It does not leave permanent physical and emotional scars on the child but brings about reformation.
Children by nature are deviant because they have not fully developed the moral capacity to distinguish right from wrong. It is up to the parents or guardians to guide them in the right path with love, and it takes a lot of patience.
Torturing children in the manner the ZAF officer did actually has potential to turn them into coldhearted individuals and end up becoming abusers or criminals if not fully helped to recover through psychosocial counseling and other such therapies.
The court has done well to put the woman behind bars. That is where she belongs until she is reformed.
Her behaviour does not befit that of a mother or an officer of such a distinguished institution as ZAF.
It is, however, worth noting that this case may just be a tip of the iceberg.
The challenge of abused children in homes is bigger than meets the eye.
Such cases are also common in homes where there are step-children.
It is, therefore, hoped that the imprisonment of the ZAF officer has sent the right signal to those in the habit of abusing children that they will
be visited by the long arm of the law in due course.
Above all, it is hoped that the incarcerated ZAF officer will use her time in prison to reflect on her wicked ways and reform.

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