By MUNAMBEZA MUWANEI -
A 13-YEAR-OLD pupil of Adastra Primary School in Choma has committed suicide after he was caught nicking two chocolate bars worth K18 in Spar Supermarket.
The boy, identified at Stephen Hatembo, who was due to write his grade seven examinations this month, is alleged to have shoplifted two chocolate bars but was caught by security officers at the store.
The boy’s grandfather Edward Shatembo said when the incident occurred on Wednesday, he was called and rushed to the store.
During a meeting with management, he was asked to pay three times the value of the chocolates or the matter would be reported to police.
Mr Shatembo, who narrated the incident to the Times in Choma at the funeral house, said he committed to pay K54 for the two chocolate bars the next day, after which he and his grandson were let go.
He said on the way home, he took the occasion to counsel Stephen, the conversation carrying on after they got home. He said during the discussion at home, Stephen looked dejected.
Around 22:00 hours, Stephen stepped outside the house. It would be the last time the family would see him alive.
“It’s like he got a wire, tied himself to a tree and decided to jump and take away his life. So, as we were looking for him, we only found his body hanging from a tree. This is so sad, I treated him like my own son,” Mr Shatembo said.
The police were then called in and confirmed that the matter was suicide.
His former teacher at Adastra Primary School Richard Hamunsunga, who was also found at the funeral house, expressed shock at the incident.
“I taught Stephen for two years from 2015 and 2016. He didn’t have this habit of picking things. I am really surprised with what has happened,” Mr Hamunsunga said.
Spar Choma confirmed the theft but could not give any details because the matter involved a juvenile.
Sales manager Osbert Kasonkola said the boy’s guardian had promised to come back to the store to settle the penalty.
Mr Kasonkola said the company had a policy on how they handled incidents involving juveniles and calling in Stephen’s guardian was part of the policy.
“Yes it was committed but we treat such kind of incident as confidential because it involves a juvenile and I cannot give any further details,” he said.
Spar procurement manager Phatwell Maamba who was on duty described the death of the boy as sad, but he also declined to give details of how the boy was handled after the incident, which could have led him to take his life.
“The matter was between Spar and the parents and I am not in a position to reveal anything,” Mr Maamba said.