BY NHAU MANGIRAZI
The United Nations yesterday condemned the death of a 14-year-old Marange girl while giving birth at an apostolic sect shrine.
Memory Machaya is said to have died on July 15 and was secretly buried by members of the sect based in Bocha, Manicaland.
.@UNZimbabwe notes with deep concern and condemns strongly the surrounding circumstances leading to the untimely death of 14-year-old Memory Machaya from Marange, who died while giving birth at an apostolic sect shrine.
— UN Zimbabwe (@UNZimbabwe) August 7, 2021
‘‘The United Nations in Zimbabwe notes with deep concern and condemns strongly the circumstances leading to the untimely death of 14-year-old Memory Machaya from Marange, who died while giving birth at an apostolic sect shrine,” said the UN in a statement.
The Johanne Marange cult is above the law because it is protected by the highest office on the land.
In a new Zimbabwe, this will end.
We say no to child marriages!
— Team Pachedu 🇿🇼 Register to vote! (@PacheduZW) August 4, 2021
“Sadly, disturbing reports of the sexual violation of under-aged girls, including early forced child marriages continue to surface and indeed this is another sad case.”
— LynneM 💕💝💎 (@LynneStactia) August 6, 2021
The UN said in Zimbabwe, one out of three girls will be married before the age of 18 years.
‘‘The current trend of unresolved cases of violence against women and girls in Zimbabwe, including marriages of minors cannot continue with impunity,” the UN added.
The heart-wrenching case of a 14-year-old girl who died during childbirth at an Apostolic church in Marange, in Zimbabwe’s Manicaland province, has sent shockwaves across the country.
— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) August 8, 2021
“All forms of violence and early forced marriages severely affect the mental and physical health of girls and are a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Zimbabwe is a signatory,
‘‘We look forward to the perpetrators being brought to justice.”
🔴The pregnant girl was allegedly denied hospital assistance by a members of the apostolic sect, which resorted to prayers and kept her at the shrine until she died due to complications.
— NewsDay Zimbabwe (@NewsDayZimbabwe) August 6, 2021
Machaya was allegedly forced out of school and into marriage at age 13.
Dewa Mavhinga, director for southern Africa at Human Rights Watch, urged Zimbabwe to enforce the Constitutional Court ban on child marriages issued in 2016.
“Forcing any girl into marriage causes her untold suffering and long-lasting harm,” Mavhinga said.
While the Marange Child Case is still hot and trending there are also many other cases that need our attention across the country. This story appears in the @AmplifyingGirls magazine. Please share it as well. This is happening in Bulawayo. @intwasa @PlanZimbabwe @JCTZimbabwe pic.twitter.com/E0ZOvACPzz
— Raisedon Baya (@RaisedonB) August 7, 2021
“Girls are often sexually abused, beaten by their husbands and in-laws, confined in their homes, forced into pregnancy and labour, exposed to serious reproductive health risks including risk of death and denied an education.
“Millions of Zimbabwean girls like Memory Machaya continue to suffer abuse because of the authorities’ inaction.”
The Constitutional Court banned child marriages following an application by former child brides Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi, who were challenging provisions of the Marriage Act that set the minimum age at 16 for girls and 18 for boys.
Judges said no one in Zimbabwe is allowed to marry before they reach the age of 18. Activists, however, say child marriages are still rife.
“The future of millions of girls depends on Zimbabwe’s government ensuring the ban on child marriages is fully enforced,” Mavhinga added.
“All Zimbabweans, and the world, should stand in solidarity with Memory and her family, and all the girls whose lives are ruined daily through child marriage.”