Police Investigate Alleged Death Of 14 Year Old Pregnant Girl

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has opened investigations into the death of Memory Machaya, a 14-year-old child bride who passed away while giving birth at an apostolic church shrine in Marange, Manicaland Province recently.

In a statement, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi promised to release more information soon.

He said, "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 Zimbabwe Republic Police is now conducting investigations into the case. More information will be released soon."

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What happened to Memory?

Memory is allegedly died around 9 AM on 15 July this year and was secretly buried two hours later. She had been forced to drop out of school at age 13 while doing Form One in Mhondoro to become Evans Momberume’s bride. However, Evans Momberume is still walking scotfree even though there is a Constitutional Court Decision (2016) outlawing child marriages. The Constitutional Court Decision of 2016 sets 18 years as the minimum marriage age for girls and boys, without exceptions.

According to ManicaPost, there are reported claims that her family, the Machayas, are also planning to offer their nine-year-old daughter as Memory’s replacement to their in-laws.

Child marriages in Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, child marriages are rampant, especially among indigenous apostolic churches. These churches mixes Christian beliefs with indigenous culture and have a belief that, “As soon as a girl reaches puberty, any man in the church can claim her for his wife”.

Reasons why child marriages happen

In order to be able to stop child marriages, we need to address the reasons why they happen in the first place.

  • Laws protecting girls aren’t enforced enough to deter the perpetrators.
  • Some parents think marriage will protect girls from poverty, especially if she is offered to an "old and rich" husband.
  • Many "religions" consider younger wives to be more obedient.
  • Gender inequality which treats girls as second-class citizens who are ready to be thrown into marriage as soon as they reach puberty.
  • Poverty. According to Girls not Brides almost half of the girls in the world’s poorest countries are married as children.

Implications of child marriages

Child marriage causes untold suffering and long-lasting mental and physical harm to these girls including

  • sexual abuse
  • domestic violence by their husbands and inlaws
  • oppression of their rights
  • serious reproductive health risk including risk of death
  • denied chance to education.

An online petition calling for justice for Memory has been opened. You can add your signature there and help end the suffering of these millions of innocent girls.

Sydney Chako

Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics teacher at Sytech Learning Academy. From Junior Secondary School to Tertiary Level Engineering Mathematics and Engineering Science.


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