Recently in Margibi County, 36-year-old Garmai Sumo, a mother of nine, was charged and sent to court for allegedly beating her 3-year-old son to death.
Garmai is a breast-feeding mother of a 9-month-old son, who was constrained against his will to have had the distasteful experience of prison life when he spent few days with his mom behind bars in police cell at the Roberts International Airport Police Station in Margibi County.
Women Voices newspaper is reliably informed that through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP), the nine-month-old boy has been taken into protective custody in Monrovia; while his mother, Garmai Suomo languishes behind prison bars at the Bordenwieh Center Prison in Lower Margibi County, awaiting court trial.
The issue of men abandoning women with children is an aged-old one confronting Liberian women as many of them continue to suffer similar fate. Apparently due to the economic situation in the country, many women follow men who seek jobs at concession areas for their daily survival.
Family sources have informed Women Voices that almost all of the nine children Garmai has do not have stable fathers, except for the first three whose fathers took them away long since. For the rest including the deceased, there is no man to be identified, as they would abscond whenever she is pregnant.
Madam Finda Tamba, a local market woman, who is Garma’s Aunty, narrates that she was the one paying Garma’s rent and helping her with the children prior to the incident because she (Garmah) does not have the means to take care of all the children.
We are of the belief that Garmai’s intention was to discipline little Sheikh for constantly toileting in the hallway of the house instead of informing his mother whenever he was pressed with nature; a situation according to Garmah annoys her landlord.
Garmai has since stated that she used broom straws to beat on little Sheikh but had no intention of killing him because disciplining children with a few laches for misbehavior is a common practice amongst African parents, especially mothers.
In fact, according to the story, Garmai disciplined the boy around 4:00 PM; bathed and sent him to sleep while she went to the market to fend for food. Upon her return and after preparing the meal, she decided to bring little Sheikh out to eat with his siblings; it was when she then realized that the child was dead.
Despite the fact Garmai was in poor health when she was taken to prison, our investigation has established that no family member has visited her because she is from a very poor background and her both parents are deceased. The only aunty, who should have helped, has been over burdened to cater for three of Garmai’s children in Monrovia.
Garmai’s story is but one that several victims who have suffered similar fate in the hands of some unscrupulous men who trooped to Firestone and other concession areas for job, make love to the women, impregnate them and abandoned them with the pregnancy or children.
While it is true that we deeply regret the death of the little boy, and while also it yet to be established medically that the lad died as a result of disciplinary spanking given him by his ailing mother, we are calling for speedy and impartial trial for Garmai’, and at the same time, we are pleading with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to kindly provide both social services and legal support for breast-feeding mother of nine.