Two women caused a stir at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) in Zimbabwe when they sought a Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) test following a dispute over a four-year-old child which they both claimed to be theirs.
A DNA test is done to ascertain a person's genetic material and identity. An official from the hospital who preferred anonymity said the two women, Ms Priscilla Phiri and Ms Siphilisiwe Sibanda, arrived at the hospital on Thursday at about 5pm accompanied by their relatives.
"That was a shocking incident. These women came here with the child and their relatives. They approached the hospital staff at the Casualty Department and requested to have DNA tests," said the official.
UBH communications officer Matron N Thaka confirmed the incident.
"Yes, we attended to such people but we did not have the equipment to assist them. We referred them to private doctors and they left the hospital," said Matron Thaka.
Our news crew caught up with Ms Phiri at her home at Arda Balu Estate in Umguza District where she told her story yesterday. The child in dispute, whose name is withheld, was also present.
"She (Ms Sibanda) came here on 24 December as a visitor. What I know is that her child went missing sometime in 2008. Surprisingly, when she came here for the first time, she likened my child to her missing child and we did not have a problem with that because we knew her child went missing in 2008. She came again early last month, this time around claiming that she had a letter from the police and insisted that the child belonged to her. We had a misunderstanding over the issue and last week Thursday we went to Queens Park Police Station with the child to have the matter clarified.
"We arrived there at around 11am and discussed the issue until the police advised us to go to the hospital for tests. I was accompanied by my sister Mrs Christine Nkomo, my daughter's father, Sipho and the woman who assisted me when I gave birth, Mrs Simeleni Luphahla. Ms Sibanda was accompanied by her sister," said Ms Phiri.
Ms Phiri said hospital officials told them that doing a DNA test was expensive as they needed at least $450 for the service. Mrs Nkomo also confirmed the incident and said the family was shocked about the development.
"I was staying with this child with my husband when my young sister was away. It is so painful that someone just comes from nowhere and suddenly claims the child belongs to her. We were there when this child was born and the whole community knows about it," she said.
Mr Limukani Nkomo, husband to Christine, said he was aware that Ms Sibanda's child went missing.
"We are related to Ms Sibanda because she was once married to my cousin. It is true that her child went missing in 2008 but I think that thing is affecting her mentally. At some point she told us that she went to some prophets who told her that the child was alive and was kept by some relatives. I know this child from birth because I was staying with my sister-in-law when she gave birth to the child," said Mr Nkomo.
Efforts to get a comment from Ms Sibanda were fruitless as she could not be located.
Contacted for comment Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo said he was yet to obtain facts about the matter.
"I do not have the facts about this matter. I am yet to find out whether these people came to our police base," said Insp Moyo.
The incident resembles the Biblical story in which King Solomon, regarded as the wisest leader in history, handled a case which involved two women who were fighting over a child.