HARARE – After being separated for eight months from his mother, three-year-old David fears she will disappear again.
For nearly eight months, jail separated mother and son as Cynthia Manjoro languished in remand prison.
Together with 28 other political and human rights activists, the 27-year-old mother of one is charged with the murder of a policeman in May last year.
She is the only one to be freed on bail, and three-year David played a huge influence in moving High court judge Chinembiri Bhunu to grant Cynthia bail.
“The first thing he asked me when I got home was “Wanga uri kupi” (where have you been) and I did not even have an answer for him,” said Cynthia, looking at her son.
“I knew my son would move from one family member to another as they had to take care of him, said Cynthia with David closely watching.
“Don’t ever leave me again,” pleaded David, interrupting our interview.
And for the few days that David has united with his mother, he has not let her out of his sight.
“At times he wakes up in the middle of the night checking if I am still around,” said Manjoro.
Her brother, Steven, had earlier testified before the courts and brought the issue of David into focus.
Stephen told Bhunu that Cynthia’s son was without a mother because she was being held as bait to lure a police suspect who is her friend and was driving her car on the day of the alleged offence.
During court proceedings prior to the granting of bail an emotionally charged defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa had blasted state prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba for delaying justice.
She asked the court what kind of justice it was that saw it fit for a mother to be separated from her son who needs her love and care.
Manjoro said the court proceedings were too emotional for her.
“I felt my world crushing, I cried, I wept uncontrollably.
“I could not even follow the court proceedings because of the emotional stress I was going through.
“I felt I had failed as a mother.
“It is the wish of every parent to be there for your child in every step of his life,” she said.
Manjoro had to be whisked away from the courtroom by a prison guard the day her son was the focus of discussion in court.
Talking of her experience in prison, Manjoro said she hoped the worst was over.
“It was traumatising, being away from my child.
“I missed lots of it, the first consultation day, the first sports day and his third birthday.
“It is so painful to think of your child celebrating a birthday without you. You wonder if plans would go as well as you would have arranged,” she said.
“Initially I did not think we were going to stay for long, we had been told our bail application was going to take three to five days.
“After continually being denied bail, it became difficult for me. I knew my son would be worried because of the new people around him.
“He used to come visit me in jail. It was easy for him during the first few months because he thought I was in Chinhoyi.
“But then after two months he started crying when they had to leave, so for a while I asked them (my family) not to bring him. – Bridget Mananavire