PELLAGIA Kanyambita, wife to Police constable Clement Banda of Njuli Police Post, is lying in agony at Chiradzulu District Hospital after she was allegedly assaulted by her husband over family issues.
When The Sunday Times crew visited her at the hospital on Friday, 26-year-old Pellagia, who is being cared for by her grandmother, Ethel Matengo, was not able to see and had been lying in this state for seven days. She struggled to hold back her tears throughout the interview.
“I have endured this for far too long. My husband has been roughing me up for a while now, and he always boasts that he can do whatever he wants with me
because he is a serving police officer. Imagine, I have an eight-month old baby I delivered through caesarian section but, just five weeks after I delivered, he started beating me up,” Pellagia revealed.
She alleged that her husband of three years descended on her last Sunday after his sister, who stays with them, left their eight-month-old baby unattended.
“He said umadzimva ngati ndiwe okongola (you think you are beautiful) pushed me to the wall, repeatedly banged me against the wall, stepped on me as his fists rained on me. He threatened that he would finish me with his gun, which he rushed to pick under the bed, and started loading it. I struggled to flee to the house of Njuli Officer-in-Charge (OC), Hastings Kumchenga, although I couldn’t see properly,” Pellagia said with tears rolling down her cheeks.
Pellagia said she was then taken to Namadzi Health Centre because there was no transport to take her to Chiradzulu District Hospital. She said the OC, who she claimed ordered her husband to file a report, also told him to contribute funds to take her to Chiradzulu, but he refused.
Pellagia said the worst part was that her husband has not bothered to check on her, and continues to report for duties at Njuli police as if nothing has happened.
“He has even refused to bring the health passport belonging to our eight-month old baby who is sick at the moment. He claims he can’t see the health passport.
“My main fear, though, is that I don’t know if I will ever see again. I don’t know if I will ever read books again. I am just urinating blood because he stepped on me so many times as he beat me up. But I will not leave the issue like that; I want justice to be done,” she said.
Pellagia said their troubles started when Banda, who was then stationed at Chiradzulu Police Station, allegedly started going out with another woman at the Boma. When she confronted him about the affair, he started beating her up.
She alleged that Banda also grabbed her mobile phone, put in his own sim card, and now uses the phone as his. She further alleged that the husband has never bought clothes for her, but that whenever her parents buy her some, he tears them up.
She said the Officer-in-Charge for Chiradzulu police tried in vain to bring peace between the two, and ended up transferring Banda to Njuli.
“My husband is very cruel. Imagine, he doesn’t allow me to go to church, or chat with other women. My worry, though, is about my children. Who will take care of them? I also want to go back to school and sit for Malawi School Certificate of Education exams next year. But I don’t know whether I will be able to see again,” Pellagia said.
Matengo said her granddaughter could hardly speak when she first arrived at the hospital, and that she had problems in walking.
She said she visited Chiradzulu Police on Thursday, where she asked the OC to show her police regulations which allow policemen to assault their wives and use
service arms to intimidate other people, but she was only told that police were looking into the issue.
When contacted for his side of the story on Friday, Banda expressed ignorance on the issue.
“That is not true,” Banda said.
And, when asked to confirm whether his wife was at Chiradzulu Hospital, Banda cut off the line.
However, when called again Saturday, Banda could only say: “What’s your interest in the matter? It’s none of your concern,” Banda said, before cutting off the line again.
But Chiradzulu Police spokesperson, Constable Ralphael Makondetsa, confirmed on Friday that Banda’s wife was, indeed, admitted to Chiradzulu District Hospital.
“Police women have been visiting her. I am just coming from the hospital myself,” Makondetsa said.
Asked about the course of action to be taken by police in the wake of Pellagia’s insistence that justice should take its course, Makondetsa said: “The issue is being handled by the Police Welfare Committee. We have a committee, which looks into such issues.”
Makondetsa also confirmed that Banda was transferred to Njuli “because of issues relating to the same woman”.
Chiradzulu District Hospital Administrator, Andrew Lihoma, said he had no details about Pellagia’s admission.
“Perhaps if it was a technical issue, I would have been in a better position to respond. The only people who can respond to this are those at the Ministry of Health’s headquarters,” Lihoma said.