Community Development

Early marriage, tragic loss of life preventable: Musasa

14-year-old girl who died in labour, Memory Machaya

Musasa, an organisation working on Gender-Based Violence in Zimbabwe is deeply hurt and saddened by the events which led to the death of Memory Machaya, an adolescent 14-year-old girl who died while giving birth at an apostolic church shrine in Marange. The organisation says this tragedy was preventable.

The young girl’s life is gone, her dreams shattered, great potential lost and a future vanished in a highly exploitative situation and sexually abusive environment.

Musasa says early marriages are a violation of child rights as well as fundamental rights and liberties of children.

“Yet all this could have been prevented. It’s time for Zimbabweans to respect human dignity and stop all forms of violence against women and girls in the spirit of Ubuntu and respect the sanctity of life.

“Sexual abuse of minors is a growing pandemic in Zimbabwe. This is due to toxic religious and cultural practices leading to unfortunate cases such as the Memory Machaya case. She is one in many adolescent girls affected and such cases often continue with impunity,” Musasa said in  a statement.

Musasa applauds the Government effort through the  Ministry of Women Affairs, Community Small and Medium Enterprises, the Gender Commission, and other development partners in their efforts for justice in this case.

The constitution of Zimbabwe (Section 78 (1) declares eighteen years (18) as the minimum age of marriage in Zimbabwe. They argue that the case of the Memory Machaya and other innocent children out there clearly reflects how this provision is violated. The same constitution demands the state to take appropriate measures in ensuring that children are not pledged in marriage, (section 26 (b). Musasa recognises the efforts of the Government in the existence of the Children’s Amendment Bill 2021.  Zimbabwe is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“Musasa wants to thank the general populace of Zimbabwe for amplifying the voice for justice. Local artists, Faith-based Organisations, Print and Social Media News Outlets, Civil Society, and CBO – may we continue to advocate for an end to early child marriages and sexual abuse. #justiceformemory #endchildmarriages.”

 

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende