GWERU: Gweru community woke up to shock news of the passing away of an eight-year-old boy who had been reported missing on Friday before being discovered drowned in Mkoba 6 swimming pool.
The community has expressed mixed feelings with some proposing that the police investigate a possible murder case while on the other hand experts have blamed police for negligence following delayed search initiation.
“What is shocking is that this kid was found without clothes and injured on one side. The child was also bleeding so now we suppose someone murdered the kid and threw him into the pool. We will however wait to hear what the police will say ahead of their ongoing investigations but the scenario is a sad one,” said a community member, Jenifer Chimange after visiting the bereaved family through a WhatsApp audio.
Police have confirmed the child’s death and have said investigations are ongoing.
Police are investigating a case of sudden death by drowning where an eight-year-old male juvenile was found floating in a pool. It is alleged that Edmore Mudamburi (56) commenced duty at Mkoba 6 swimming pool when he discovered a dead body floating in the pool while naked.
“Matter was reported to the police and it was discovered that the juvenile had been reported missing on 8 October 2021. The body was taken to Gweru Provincial Hospital for postmortem,” said Midlands Provincial Community Relations Liaison Officer Emmanuel Mahoko.
Experts have however urged police to respond swiftly in cases that involve missing children against the supposed ‘stipulated 48 hours.
“There are a lot of gaps within our child protection laws. It is not clear what police should do especially when a child goes missing. In such a situation that involves children, we urge police to act swiftly not the 48 hours they usually refer to.
“Laws should also be clear so that cases involving children will be treated with utmost urgency especially considering an increase of juveniles being abducted and so forth,” said Sharon Moffat of Legal Resource Foundation.
Some experts however widely believe that search for juveniles should be initiated immediately as opposed to reports that the law enforcement authority had told the late boy’s family that they could only initiate search after 48 hours.
They also further clarified that for adults, circumstances involving witnesses who see people dragged into abduction, even adults, should have a search immediately initiated as opposed to an adult who would have had disappeared out of anyone’s vicinity which will thereby prompt police to call for a 48-hour wait.
Calls have also been made through community WhatsApp platforms that the council should increase security on non-functional swimming pools to avoid such incidences.