Malawi court suspend case to allow DNA to prove girl’s mother

The Blantyre Child Justice Court (CJC) has stayed court proceedings in a case involving two women who asked for a medical determination on a daughter they both claim to have biologically mothered.

The case, which according to court records, was supposed to go into hearing on Tuesday but ended up into mediation to incorporate the two mother’s wishes, has stopped to pave way for possible Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) test or any other medical explanation on the paternity of the daughter, Elizabeth Nkhalango.

The development follows a continued wrangle between the complainant, Nailess Boidi and the accused, Violet Nkhalango in which they are seeking legal redress on the right mother of the daughter, who has sat for the 2012 Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE).

Boidi, who told the CJC mediation hearing to which Malawi News Agency (Mana) was part, asked for a medical explanation to determine the matter saying the courts alone can pass judgment based on evidence but a paternity test will determine paternity actualities.

“My understanding is that the test will guide me on whether to proceed with the matter or not but however, the challenge is that I cannot afford that cost attached to it,” said Boidi who claims that her daughter, also named Elizabeth went missing in 1999 under the custody of her father who is currently no more.

Concurring with the complainant, Nkhalango who comes from Likoswe village in Traditional Authority Machinjiri’s area said much as the courts were vested with powers to resolve such differences, it is proper to give medical practitioners an opportunity to determine the parenthood of Elizabeth arguing skipping the step would be catastrophic in the court’s determination of the matter.

“Let the truth be exposed. Medical explanations have helped others before and in our case, we would respect the court’s outcome,” explained Nkhalango who is currently the custodian of Elizabeth.

Nkhalango and Boidi have unanimously asked government, nongovernmental organizations and well wishers to assist financially for the demonstration of the DNA test which previously was being done in South Africa as the country did not have equipment to conduct the procedure.

Nevertheless, inside sources at the College of Medicine have disclosed that the procedure could be done locally within one week, unlike in South Africa where it takes about two weeks depending on the length of the process.

On another note, there is disparity on the dates on which the two women claim they bore Elizabeth.

Boidi claims that she bore her daughter on June 18, 1994 while Nkhalango says Elizabeth was born on December 4, 1988.

However, despite the age difference, the Child Justice Court registered to hear the case in reference to section 183 of the Child care Protection and Justice Act 2010 that empowers the court to preside over cases of children beyond 16 years but not beyond 21 years upon application.

The wrangle between the women came into the limelight in June, this year but was delayed after Blantyre Magistrate Court referred the case to CJC to accord Elizabeth enough time to prepare for MSCE examinations.

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