The family of Memory Machaya, a 14-year-old girl who died at a Johanne Marange Apostolic sect shrine in Bocha while giving birth, has been arrested for giving another girl to the husband as a replacement (chimutsamapfihwa).
Memory had been forced out of school and married off to one of the sect members, Evans Momberume. She died on 15 July and was secretly buried two hours later by the church.
Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni said investigations into the case were at an advanced stage.
Nyoni said this during a question and answer session in the National Assembly while responding to Mutare Central MP, Innocent Gonese (MDC Alliance) who wanted to know what the Government was doing to prevent child marriages. Said Nyoni:
I want to assure you that Government is very concerned about child marriages. There is the Marriage Amendment Bill that is very strong on the prevention of child marriages.
I am happy that police have arrested some of the culprits including the family that had already given the man another child as a wife.
Reports indicate that Momberume was arrested on Wednesday for having s_x with a minor and is set to appear at the Mutare Magistrates Court on Thursday.