HARARE – Police are facing resistance from the Johanne Marange Apostolic community in Bocha in their investigation of the recent death of a 14-year-old girl, Memory Machaya, at a church shrine, legislators heard yesterday.
The girl, who had been forced out of school, had allegedly been married off to one of the sect members and died while giving birth on July 15.
She was allegedly buried secretly about two hours after her death by members of the church.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said lack of cooperation from the sect community had contributed to the delay in finalising investigations.
He said law enforcement officers would, however, not be deterred by the efforts to thwart the probe.
Minister Ziyambi said this yesterday in the National Assembly while addressing legislators.
Proportional Representative MP, Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga had risen on a point of privilege allowing a member to raise a matter of national importance.
She said she was concerned about the delay and apparent inaction of law enforcement agencies in arresting persons responsible for marrying off the child and the man who married and impregnated her.
Mrs Misihairabwi-Mushonga had called upon Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe to issue a Ministerial statement regarding progress on the case.
But Minister Ziyambi, who is Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly, said it was too early to give a comprehensive progress report given the obstacles currently being encountered by police.
“It’s not as straightforward as what the Honourable Member might think. Indeed, the Government is doing a lot and investigations are continuing. Initially, there was no cooperation by the whole of that community to the extent that the police were not told about where she was buried.
“Police need to get to the bottom of the matter, but they are facing a lot of resistance from the whole of that community. It is too early for the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to give a statement, but once investigations are complete, he will bring a statement,” said Minister Ziyambi.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda concurred saying there was need to give police time before a comprehensive statement was issued.
Earlier on, Mrs Misihairabwi-Mushonga had said it was worrying that Government had not said anything on an incident of such a nature.
“The abuse of children within that particular sect has been known and it is worrying that something of that nature happens publicly and there is nothing that has happened,” said Mrs Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
Police have said they are conducting thorough investigations to bring the culprits to book. – Herald