Shamwari yeMwanasikana, a Non- Governmental Organisation that advocates for the emancipation and empowerment of the girl child in Zimbabwe has expressed outrage following the death of a 14-year-old girl at a Mapositori (Apostolic Sect) shrine.
In a statement, Shamwari yeMwanasikana indicated the 14-year-old girl died during labour in the hands of a madzibaba (a male member of an Apostolic sect) infringing section 76 of the constitution which advocates for the right to health access. It said:
It is infuriating that the young girl met her untimely death in the hands of a religious leader, a death that could have been avoided had she gotten medical treatment in time.
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In practising her religious beliefs, she was denied her constitutional right to accessing health services.
The perpetrators in these barbaric acts have been going unpunishment for a very long time. The law enforcement agents have been failing in their duty to serve and protect.
Shamwari yeMwanasikana demanded the arrest of those culpable for the death of the teenager, the man responsible for the pregnancy, as well as the deceased’s guardians who did not report the case of abuse to the police. The statement further read:
Our law criminalizes sexual intercourse with a young person who is below the age of consent, of 16 years. Churches are supposed to be safe havens for children however, we have madzibaba who violated her right to health care which resulted in her death, thus, should be held accountable.
Communities should take a standpoint in ensuring that our communities are safe and we are not complacent in responding to issues of child abuse.
Therefore, we demand justice for the deceased who untimely died in the hands of a trusted man of the cloth. It is time that the government together with the civil society works together in putting an end to these inhumane crimes against the girl child being orchestrated by the men of the cloth.