By Staff Writer
Investigations to establish the circumstances surrounding the death of a Marange 14-year-old girl Memory Machaya, who died mysteriously at an apostolic sect shrine in Bocha while giving birth a couple of weeks ago, is taking long to conclude and this is further inflicting secondary injury to all the mothers, Women Affairs Minister Sithembiso Nyoni has said.
A couple of days ago Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) announced it has launched an investigation into Machaya’s death days after a social media frenzy with Minister Nyoni saying government expects the probe outcome in no time.
Speaking at a press briefing in Harare minister Nyoni said: “We want investigations to be concluded as soon as yesterday.”
“It’s taking too long and it’s very painful to all the mothers let alone the biological mother.”
The government said Machaya’s death has recharged the child marriage discourse with the much-awaited new marriage bill expected to put a halt to the scourge.
“This case however serves to remind us of the scourge of teenage pregnancies and child marriage that continue to affect the lives of thousands of girls in the communities,” added minister Nyoni.
“Child violation marriage is a violation of multiple rights of the girl child that include, denying her the right to education, right to health and well-being.
“It exposes the girl child to Gender-Based Violence, HIV and other health-related conditions. It puts the young mother and her child into a cycle of poverty.”
The government lashed out at “mischievous religious leaders” who use God’s name to abuse the young people’s sexual and reproductive health rights.
“It is the responsibility of church leaders to make sure that they don’t abuse God’s name to abuse children.
“It is a responsibility of those who start churches and use the word of God to lure beautiful girls and then rape them. They impregnate them and marry them. It is not acceptable let alone use God’s name to oppress and abuse people you should be protecting. It is mischievous.
“I don’t see a 14-year-old giving in to sexual consent and giving in to marriage. A 14-year-old is a minor who should be taken care of by the church.”
The Students and Youth Working on Reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) strongly condemn the violation of Machaya’s sexual and reproductive health rights and is extremely concerned by reports indicating the deceased was denied access to hospital services that could have saved her life.