18 Dec 2010

Zimbabwe sect father jailed just 18 months for allowing four children to suffer and die needlessly from measles

Times Live - South Africa August 17, 2010

Dad jailed for measles deaths

By Moses Mudzwiti

A father who watched four of his children die of measles while he prayed for their recovery has been sent to jail for 18 months, a Zimbabwe daily newspaper reported yesterday.

The newspaper said that Karoi magistrate Elisha Singano found Elvis Tapiwa Mugusa, of Magunje village, guilty of breaching the Children's Protection and Adoption Act.

Singano slapped the Johanne Marange Apostolic sect member with a two-year jail term, but he provisionally set aside six months for "good behaviour".

The court was told that Mugusa ignored neighbours' pleas to have the suffering children treated.

The children were all below the age of 15.

The devout Mugusa said taking his children to a hospital for treatment would be against his religious convictions.

His church prescribes prayer and the use of ''holy water" to treat any ailment.

After the children died, the police were called and were able to save three of Mugusa's remaining children.

In the past year, measles has killed more than 100 un-vaccinated children in Zimbabwe.

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