A man from Bulawayo,Zimbabwe allegedly poisoned himself and his three children to spite his wife who had left him for another man.
The 34 year old man, Chelesani Sibanda yesterday told a court that he did not want to shoulder the burden of taking care of his children alone after his wife left him for another man in South Africa.
Sibanda allegedly tried to kill the children aged six, four and two by giving them a concoction to drink.
He pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder before Western Commonage magistrate Ms Gladmore Mushove who remanded him in custody to October 21 for continuation of trial.
Sibanda denied poisoning his children.
“I do not admit to the charge levelled against me, nganatha ngedwa umuthi, angibanikanga mina abantwana! (I didn’t give the children the poisoned juice, I’m the only one who took it),” he said.
For the State, Mr Kenneth Shava said on September 23 this year, Sibanda gave poisoned water to his three children with the intention of killing them.
“At around 9PM, the accused person gave the complainants the poisoned mixture and told them they should not worry about their mother who had remarried in South Africa,” he said.
Mr Shava said the children developed stomach aches and cramps and were admitted to Mpilo Central Hospital for two days.
One of Sibanda’s children said their father fed them before poisoning them.
“I was with my two siblings when our father gave us isitshwala and sugar. He poured a green substance from a green sachet into some water for us to drink,” said the child who cannot be named for ethical reasons.
“My stomach started aching and father ordered us all to sleep. After a while, an ambulance came and we were taken to Mpilo (Central Hospital) for treatment”.
Sibanda’s relative, Mr Decent Ndlovu, said the accused sent him a message before he tried to commit suicide.
“Sibanda sent me a message saying I should bury him together with his children and I immediately contacted the police and an ambulance,” he said.
“I found them writhing in agony and I saw three packets of rat and cockroach poison beside the bed,” said Mr Ndlovu.
The matter was reported to the police leading to Sibanda’s arrest.