Nine months of fatal lies
A young father says he kept providing financial support for his child, who had died in January although he was made to believe she was alive and well.
16 October 2020 | Crime
A young father is reeling in shock after discovering this week that his daughter, whom he had left in the care of his mother, and for whom he has been sending money for most of this year, died nine months ago.
A broken Joseph Haikali, who works at a remote farm in the Omaheke Region, told police this week that his mother and sister had been lying to him since the beginning of the year.
Whenever he called to speak to his daughter Nangula, aged one year and seven months, whom he had left with his mother in November last year, Haikali was told that Nangula was either sleeping or playing with her peers in the streets of Ombili location in Katutura, where the family lived.
Haikali said he has been sending money to support his child, sometimes at the request of his mother and sister who would claim that Nangula was “asking for KFC money”.
“There's poor cellular network coverage at the farm so often I would climb into a tree for a better connection. Every time I called there was an excuse as to why I could not speak to my daughter,” Haikali said in his statement to the police.
Tired of lies
Fed up by the excuses, Haikali recently travelled to Windhoek to see his daughter.
His mother had moved away from Ombili and neighbours told him when the family moved, Nangula was not with them.
The neighbours said Nangula had endured abuse and mistreatment.
“Neighbours said my daughter was made to sit in a bowl of water all day. They also scalded her with hot water. If she relieved herself, my mother and sister would use broomsticks to clean her because they didn't want to touch her.”
When neighbours once confronted Haikali's mother about the mistreatment of the child, she told them to take Nangula to their houses if they had a better way to treat her, police were told.
The child, frail and on the verge of death, was taken to Katutura State Hospital on January 5 by Haikali's sister, who allegedly provided the nursing staff with fake contact details.
On 20 January, Nangula died of septic shock as a result of acute malnutrition.
With a fake number provided, the hospital could not reach the family to inform them of Nangula's death.
Haikali says he visited the hospital this week and was informed that his daughter had died in January and her body was lying unclaimed in the mortuary.
In fact, the hospital had planned a pauper's funeral for Nangula and other unclaimed persons yesterday.
“When I informed my mother that Nangula was dead and confronted her about how she treated her, she told me that that Nangula was not the first person to die and that she was not the one who sent the disease that killed her.”
Both Haikali's mother and sister were arrested on Wednesday and charged with culpable homicide and child neglect.
Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi said the two are expected to appear before court today.
The baby's mother, Maria !Naris, said her heart is broken.
“They killed my child,” she sobbed.
!Naris said the baby was brought to Windhoek because she could not take care of her at the time because she was sick.
“I feel so bad. She was so cute… she always wanted to dance and she was so helpful. When I asked her for water she would run and get it for me,” the mother said.