The eldest child is aged 14 years old. Kasambule Ebondo, 40, and wife Mumba Kayeye, 32, of Lubumbashi, told Victoria Falls magistrate
Rangarai Gakanje that they escaped from their country last week and chose to come to Zimbabwe to seek refuge. Prosecutors charged the couple with illegally entering the country.
The minors could be seen playing outside the courtroom while their parents were being tried. Ebondo and Kayeye pleaded guilty to the charge and were sentenced to four months in prison which was wholly suspended for five years on condition they don’t commit a similar offence within that period.
The magistrate also ordered that they be deported. “You should have sought to have travel documents before thinking of travelling instead of entering the country illegally,” said Gakanje.
Ebondo burst into tears as he explained to the court why he and his family fled the DRC.
“There is unrest in our country where people are being killed on a daily basis. We fear for our lives and that of our children because some of our relatives were axed to death recently. We will be having elections soon and that is what is sparking political disputes. We didn’t get a chance to obtain any travelling documents because of the unrest,” he said.
Prosecuting, Listen Nare told the court that the couple illegally crossed into the country from Zambia on Tuesday.
“The accused proceeded to Chinotimba suburb to seek refuge. Police detectives received information that there were illegal immigrants in the country. At around 4AM police found the eight children sleeping outside a shop,” the prosecutor said.
The court heard that when they were questioned, it was discovered that they were Congolese citizens who illegally entered the country. Ebondo and Kayeye failed to produce their travelling documents leading to their immediate arrest.