The maid who tortured an 18-month-old baby pleads guilty to charges of torture and asks for forgiveness.
By Vision Reporter
KAMPALA - The Ugandan maid who tortured an 18-month-old baby in Kampala has pleaded guilty to charges of torture and has asked for forgiveness.
Jolly Tumuhiirwe, 22, appeared in a video that went viral, showing her feeding and later hitting the toddler repeatedly while the parents were away.
The horrifying action was caught on a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera installed in the living room of the house located in Naalya, a city suburb.
On Monday, the young woman, whose actions sparked a plethora of debate across various media platforms – thanks to the exposed video – showed up in court appearing rather calm and reserved.
She atoned for her wrongdoing before the City Hall Court presided over by Magistrate Moses Nabende. She apologized to the parents of the child and to the general public, saying she did not know what came over her to commit such an inhumane act.
Following her plea, she will wait a little longer to hear her sentence after court adjourned the proceesings of the case until Wednesday for the pronouncement of the appropriate sentence.
Despite the heavy stamps she had to endure, the baby -- Aneela -- was found to be okay following a medical check-up reportedly carried out after the incident.
And while she was found to be fine, many thought her tormentor was mentally disturbed to have done such a thing. But she was subjected to medical tests and established to be of sane mind.
It is still unclear what kind – or amount – of sentence will be handed to her, especially after her pleading guilty, but such an act could earn her 15 years in jail.
Tumuhiirwe appeared modest at the City Hall Court. (photo credit: Ronnie Kijjambu)
Rights activists have, since the video's emergence, come out as well and tasked the government to act.
Days after the video came out, the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) tasked the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to urgently develop regulations for domestic workers.
The rights body also asked the Police to provide a mechanism for monitoring the workers.
Around that time, Fred Enanga, the Police spokesperson, said such acts of physical abuse against children had been handled by the Police before.
He said: “In extreme situations, maids or helpers have suffocated babies to death, stuffed them into fridges, injected them with blood infected with HIV, sexually molested infants and attempted suicide due to psychological problems and mental fits.”
Enanga reasoned that such acts could be due to psychological problems suffered by the maids and helpers.
The footage in detail
The details of the video were very disturbing
The footage drew an outpouring of outrage and over 4,000,000 viewers watched it on the first day. It then hit over 12, 000,000, with many expressing anger at the chilling and despicable act of the housemaid.
In the gory footage, a visibly disgusted Tumuhiirwe is seen using a spoon to feed the child – Aneela – by force on what looks like porridge.
When the child seems to be having difficulty swallowing, she snaps out a command and blurts out: “You are crying?”
She then violently smacks the child twice in the face before proceeding to forcefully feed the child who looks visibly shaken. Perhaps due to the harsh treatment, the child throws up, drawing the full wrath of the maid.
What follows next is extremely spine-chilling.
Incensed, the footage captured last week on a (CCTV camera installed in the house in Naalya, a city suburb, shows the maid violently thrusting the toddler onto the floor, causing the child to scream as she falls on her face.
Tumuhiirwe proceeds to clobber the child repeatedly with what looks like a huge torch, then kicks her on the head twice before stamping on the helpless child’s back repeatedly.
Not done, she violently grabs the child with one hand and storms out of the living room.
The maid, employed by Eric Kamanzi, the father of the toddler and his wife, had only worked for two weeks.
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