deekaymedia

July 4, 2017

Hurungwe headman facilitates marriage of 14 year minor as police dither on arresting hubby

Filed under: News — Nhaudzenyu @ 9:40 am
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By Nhau Mangirazi
KAROI-A 14 year old Hurungwe girl bolted out of a Karoi Children’s home where she was surrendered to for medical examination and safety on Wednesday last week, investigations reveal.
The girl at the center of controversy was married off to a 27 year old man who is headman Emmanuel Mavhunga’s late brother’s, son.
Police in Magunje launched a manhunt to arrest the underage girl while the husband who was picked up for sleeping with a minor was released out of police custody after 48 hours had lapsed without going to court.
A source at Magunje charge office confirmed that the suspect did not appear in court as scheduled when he was picked up soon after the girl was rescued.
‘We had a suspect who came here on Tuesday but due to pressure as we were hosting senior District officers for inspection, the suspect did not go to court and was released. He will be summoned to appear in court,’ said a junior officer at Magunje police camp.
In a move likely to complicate the underage marriage, the girl skipped out of children’s home in Karoi hardly two days after she was surrendered by child welfare officials.
According to villagers, headman Muchini facilitated payment of a beast and money. The girl was rescued from her child marriage by district welfare officer Blessing Simango on Tuesday last week and left her at the children’s home for care and safety.
However, sources revealed that when Simango visited the home on Wednesday, the girl was nowhere to be seen.
Sources at Karoi Children’s home revealed that she absconded from the premises hardly two days she was at the center.
‘We got a 14 year old girl late on Tuesday whose case was of child marriage. We took care of her just like any other children we have here from different backgrounds. However, we were surprised that she was nowhere to be seen early on Wednesday morning. We never suspected that she could abscond,’ said a source at the center who declined to be named.
Investigations made on Tuesday revealed that the girl was married off after headman Muchini facilitated the marriage.
The area situated about 105 kilometers west of Karoi is in ward 25, Chief Dandawa within Hurungwe rural district.
Headman Muchini paid off the money and a beast since the 27 year old husband is headman’s late brother’s son.
Villagers told theweeklymirror that the headman was the prime suspect of early child marriage that has set tongues wagging in the remote village.
‘Headman Muchini released the beast for damages and $50 cash as token to the girl’s parents late in January and he did this to silence both the parents not to report the case to the police. He is the custodian of the husband after his parents passed on few years ago,’ said a villager Moses Chapara.
The girl’s’ mother aged 39 confirmed that the case went before headman Muchini who heard it and facilitated payment of cash and the beast.
The mother said they are still yet to collect the beast from their in laws.
‘Soon after Diana* eloped we got a word from our son in law that there were ready to pay some money and they said they will release a beast as part of damages to our daughter. They paid $50 as token of appreciation. We are still yet to get the beast. We tried to get the headman assist us but he was elusive to get the case reported to the police. Our child was problematic and we just thought it was good riddance on our part,’’ said the mother whom we can not name to protect the victim.
The father of the girl is aged 43 year old was silent during visit and interviews. He is a fisherman who is always in Gache-Kache fishing camp.
According to villagers the victim whom we can not name to protect her was married off to a 27 year Grade 6 dropout who is a neighbor to the girl’s parents.
It is believed the husband who was living with the minor as wife since January is an orphan but has been living with his uncle headman Muchini.
Muchini was not around during our visit.
Some villagers confirmed that headman Muchini facilitated payment of the beast as a cover -up to the child marriage act.
Hurungwe child welfare officer Blessing Simango refused to talk to the press over the case saying he had no authority to talk to the press but sources revealed that the girl has been rescued and surrendered to Hurungwe children’s home in Karoi for probation and better welfare.
Recently, Hurungwe East Member of Parliament Sarah Mahoka bemoaned high cases of child marriages where traditional leaders are accomplices by demanding fees from suspects and once paid they never act to have suspects arrested.
Mahoka told Primary and Secondary minister Lazarus Dokora that the district has high cases of child marriages.
‘We wonder why Chiefs and headman are paid fees as this has resulted in high numbers of child marriages in the district. Our girls are dropping out of school early and married since traditional leaders are not stamping authority. They demand money called chigaramaratanda and will never protect the girl child,’ said Mahoka recently at Karoi Enterprise school.

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