Poison-laced saga: Maid recovers, still hospitalised

Susan Nyabunze Herald Reporter
The 15-year-old housemaid who fed poison-laced porridge to four-year-old Faith Ruzai leading to the death of the toddler, which she also ate, is recovering well in hospital.Narrating her ordeal from her hospital bed yesterday, Rumbidzayi Shayamano said she had prepared the porridge as was routine, but had instead used an insect killer that looked like sugar which had been left in the kitchen by the child’s mother.

“I did not know there was insect killer in the sugar that I used,” she said. “It was only when Faith was staggering and later crouching in pain that her mother asked what I had put in the food.

“She then ordered me to eat the porridge as proof that I had not put anything in the porridge. I took one teaspoon and she told me to eat all of it, which I did.”

Rumbidzai said she later collapsed only to be saved by neighbours who gave her lots of water to induce vomiting and took her to hospital.

Rumbidzai, a Form Three student from Gokwe, said she had taken up the job for only a month to raise money for stationery and was due to return to school at the end of this month. She said the child’s father Mr Charles Ruzai visited her at the hospital yesterday and threatened her.

“He came to see me in the morning and told me that it was just an accident, but he said he did not want to see me ever again,” she said.

“He said I would collect my two weeks pay and clothes from their tuck shop in Mufakose.”

But Mr Ruzai said he did not threaten the girl and denied allegations that she had been forced to eat the poisoned porridge.

“When I called from the hospital where I had taken my child to tell those at home to keep the porridge for laboratory tests, I was informed that the maid had also fallen sick,” he said.

“It was an accident, no one is to blame. The only problem is that the maid is denying ever touching the pesticide.”

Faith was set to start pre-school this term and is expected to be laid to rest at her parents’ rural home in Honde Valley today.