Guest Columnist

DNA: Innocent Moms on Trial, By Michael West

Mothers, we are sorry! Unreserved apologies to the innocent mothers who had shamefully and wrongfully been accused of acts infidelity on account of any of their children whose DNA tests failed to match with that of their ‘fathers.’ Most of these women did not only lose their homes as a result of the embarrassing outcome, unfortunately, they lost their dignity, decency and good image. They lost every alibi in the court of public opinion. Their voices become irritating just as their sight evoke anger and disrepute due to no fault of their own. What a world!

Some these women had died miserable deaths. They were viewed as a bunch of disgraceful elements to their respective families. Even the children in dispute had become daylight orphans and they were completely ostracized from the rest members of the family. The lucky ones had travelled out and had severed relationship with their supposed families forever. The shame and agony of the dramatis personae involved here: the dad, the mom and the affected child could best be imagined than expressed.

The bewildering confession of a dying Zambian matron who owned up to swapping about 5,000 children for a period of 12 years opened another vista of reasons why DNA tests that portray innocent women as being unfaithful are on the increase. This bizarre confession had earlier been given as one of the reasons genetic discrepancies are on the rise as about 50 percent of DNA tests carried out in a Lagos laboratory show that a number of children are being fathered by men who are not their biological fathers.

Silhouette of mother and child

According to the dying Zambian matron, it was fun for her to swap new born babies. “I had developed a habit of swapping new born babies just for fun,” she said, while acknowledging her dastardly act had ruined many homes and had tagged many innocent mothers as unfaithful and adulterous. She accepted her evil deeds are irreversible. She then asked for forgiveness from parents who fell victim to her expensive “fun.”

“I know I (have) sinned against God and may He forgive me for that. I am also asking Zambians to forgive me for the evil things I was doing to innocent children. I have caused some faithful couples to divorce after going for DNA tests. It’s now that I have realized I was being used by a demon to do that. I have caused many mothers to breastfeed children that are not theirs biologically. I don’t want to go to hell for that. I’m really sorry I have sinned a lot. Please forgive me,” she pleaded on her sick bed.

The nurse, Elizabeth Bwalya Mwewa, is one among many callous nurses who perpetrate such a nefarious activity in many public and private hospitals across the world. Mwewa did her evil between 1983 and 1995 while working at the University Teaching Hospital, UTH, Lusaka. She is now down with cancer, a terminal sickness hence she confessed her evil because “I know I will be dying soon.”

The situation is worse in Zimbabwe. It was reported that about 70 percent of men in the country are probably not the biological fathers of children they thought were theirs. According to a paternity test outfit, Global DNA Zimbabwe, which released its finding, in the last 16 months, most of the results were negative. Global DNA principal consultant, Tinashe Mugabe, confirmed the revelations, adding “that as many as 60 couples come for testing every month nationwide, with the majority testing negative. Of the couples that went for DNA tests in January this year, for example, 84 percent of the men proved not to be the fathers of the children involved.”

Meanwhile in Nigeria, according to available data, in 2012, three out of 10 men are not the biological fathers of their children, whereas in 2015, a report says four out of 10 men are not the fathers of the beloved children. Lagos-based DNA expert, Dr. Oyinwola Oni, confirmed that “records have shown that 40 percent of men do not know that they are not the biological fathers of their first child.”

Oyinwola added that currently, “the global statistics is 100, 000 out of every 300, 000 men. But what we have found is that the situation is higher in Nigeria than other places. For example in our laboratory here, 50 per cent of the cases comes out negative. And we also realised that majority of the first-borns are affected. You only need to be here to see big men cry like little kids and watch children weep in agony. It has been that bad. And I dare say it is becoming something every home must do and you may be quite surprised at the level of dastard revelation.

“Now, the general statistics by the American Association of Blood Banks is that globally, 100, 000 out of 300, 000 men are not the actual fathers of their presumed children. And like I said earlier, the Nigerian situation is even alarming. Also, Duress International, the condom manufacturers, once noted that Nigeria has the most reckless sexual life. So, you can then imagine what the outcome would be like if we say okay, let’s start taking statistics one-by-one.”

NDA experts agreed that apart from cases of infidelity or reckless sexual lifestyle of the affected women, child swapping is one major issue that has been responsible for this problem. With the emerging facts and revelations about swapping of children at birth in the hospitals, men, husbands and fathers who had sent their trusted, faithful wives packing over allegations of adultery or infidelity as proven by DNA should have a rethink and make peace with their estranged women. Coming together as husbands and wives might not be possible again but the word ‘sorry’ will go a long way to heal the hurt of an innocent soul. This peace idea does not extend to the women involved in the proven cases of outright infidelity.

We can’t shy away from the fact that we have reported cases of stolen or missing babies in our various hospitals, including swopping of babies by paid nurses. Let there be severe punishment for the erring nurses who engage in such illicit deals for whatever reasons. There should be CCTV installed in all the wards, labour rooms and every nooks and crannies of public and private hospitals to track compromised nurses, matrons including their external accomplices involved in outright sales of new babies.

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