Police seek answers over pregnant minor’s death

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Harare (New Ziana) – The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on Friday said it had launched investigations into the alleged death of a pregnant 14 year old girl at an apostolic church shrine in Marange recently.

The girl, whose case has drawn the ire of many Zimbabweans, is alleged to have died while giving birth.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police has taken note of print and social media reports and inquiries on the alleged death of Memory Machaya (14) at a church shrine in Marange recently. The ZRP is now conducting investigations into the case, more information will be released soon,” police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said in a short statement.

Earlier, the Zimbabwe Gender Commission worryingly said such cases were on the increase in Zimbabwe.

According to statistics by the ZGC, the prevalence rate of child-marriages was as high as 34 percent in Zimbabwe, with negative religious practices and harmful cultural practises identified as causes of the practice.

It said this was despite the existence of laws meant to protect the rights of children and the girl child.

“The Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly upholds the rights of children as follows: Section 19 (2) (c) mandates the state to adopt policies and measures to ensure that children are protected from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse; Section 78 sets the minimum age of marriage at 18 years and prohibits forced marriages and child marriages,” the ZGC said.

“The Commission therefore calls upon government to take leadership for safeguarding the constitutional child rights by working with development partners, civil society, the faith-based sector, private sector and the media to declare unambiguously that what is sanitised as ‘child marriages is in fact child rape and will face full wrath of the law as it unconstitutional.”

The ZGC also wants government to put in place deterrent measures against perpetrators of child sexual abuse and to scale up the support mechanisms for reporting and responding to all forms of violence against children.

New Ziana

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