A father of 11 children in Luwinga Township in northern Malawi who was working a security guard is under police custody after he allegedly abandoned the children to stay with a new wife in another location within the Mzuzu city.
Mzuzu Police deputy public relations officer Patrick Saulosi disclosed that Feston Simbeye was arrested Friday for allegedly deserting his children with nobody to take care of them.
The father has been a sole bread winner and a single parent after his wife left him after some marital problems, and two months ago he just left the home leaving the children with nothing.
“Upon noticing for two months that the father was not supporting the children, the suspect’s fifth daughter Myles Simbeye, 14, reported the matter to police.
“The children indicated in their report that they were lacking care and support from their father hence they decided to report the matter to police and we launched an investigation and arrested the suspect,” the police spokesperson said.
The children are currently living with their grandmother who is struggling to fend for them. The whereabouts of their mother are yet to be traced.
Simbeye, who is expected to answer a charge of deserting children which is contrary to Section 164 of the Penal Code hails from Kanyara village in traditional authority Mwenewenya in Chitipa district.
The offence attracts a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment with hard labour.
According to the magistrate, sections 164 of the penal code says any parent or guardian who deserts a child below 16 years old shall be liable for five years imprisonment while section 165 says there is need to provide basic necessities to children.
However Tembenu said no one has been imprisoned on such grounds yet there are so many deserted children adding that if such fathers were to be charged and imprisoned others could learn from them.
A survey which Samaritan Trust carried out recently established that lack of parental care is the main reason why there are many children on the street.
Peer pressure, poverty, lack of basic needs and running away from abusive step parents among others are some of the reasons kids resort to going to live in the streets.–Additional reporting by Mana
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