A Lusaka-based woman has pleaded with the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court to jail her drug-addicted 17-year-old son, saying she has run out of ways in which she can help him reform at home.

This is in a matter in which her son is charged with theft after he stole her phone which is valued at K1,200.

Appearing before magistrate Felix Kaoma, Friday, Kangwa Nkamba narrated to the court how helpless she had become due to her son’s addiction to drugs which pushed him to steal.

“He is 17 years old and this boy is doing bad. He is stealing and he is running away. We have sat him down as a family but every time he is taken by a family member, he runs away and comes back home. Being a single parent and him being a teenage boy, at some point I don’t have power over him. So I stand here and ask for help because this was my last option if there could be any kind, I stand here to ask for help,” she said.

When Magistrate Kaoma asked what kind of help she was seeking, Nkamba said she wanted her son to be remanded because it was the only way he could be confined and away from trouble.

“We have tried to sort out this problem through rehabilitation centres, but it has been expensive. I have been to Chainama before, I was given medication to administer to him from home but he ran away. So he needs confinement. If that’s the last option, yes,” she said.

Magistrate Kaoma then urged the juvenile to plead with his mother if he did not want to be remanded.

“Do you want to go to Katongola? I take you to Katongola because whenever you are taken you run away, so I take you to Katongola so that you can change? Madam, we take your son to Katongola? Go and kneel and plead to your mother so that I don’t take you to Katongola,” Magistrate Kaoma told the juvenile.

In response, the juvenile promised that he had changed and would behave better at home.

“No,” the boy responded whilst crying. “I can’t run away, I have changed.”

And a non governmental organisation called UP Zambia representative said the organisation had stepped in to help the woman with financial costs associated with rehabilitating her son.

“So we had a sit down with the mother as “Up Zambia”, we want to step in and assist the boy, find a rehabilitation centre where he can be confined for about six months or so. We intend to meet half way in terms of the costs like she explained. We have also been having challenges because we have noticed that most of these juveniles are so addicted to drugs and these rehabilitation centre (costs) are high and most guardians are not able to manage. So we are trying to step in as Up Zambia,” she said.

Magistrate Kaoma then warned the juvenile offender that he risked being confined for four years if he continued troubling his mother.

“I wanted to take you to Katongola, because if I take you to Katongola, you have to be there for four years, that’s the period to stay at Katongola, there is no minimum, there is no maximum. So should you ever be brought here, actually, make sure if he comes back, he should come to my court,” he said.

He dismissed the matter after it was resolved that the juvenile would be taken to a rehabilitation centre with the help of Up Zambia.

“The matter has been resolved by diversion from the justice system. The mother working together with Up Zambia to find a rehabilitation centre for the juvenile offender. The case is therefore dismissed and the juvenile offender discharged. So you can count yourself lucky sir otherwise I would have sent you to Katongola,” said Magistrate Kaoma.