By Canisius Mushibwe
The United Nations has called on Zimbabwe to curb child marriages and criminalize the practice.
This follows the death of a 14-year-old- Memory Machaya, who lost her life during childbirth. She had been forced to leave school and get married but was later reported to have died at a church shrine in Marange.
Machaya’s case has caught the attention of rights activists and the general citizenry, exposing the exploitation of minors thereby sparking an uproar in Zimbabwe.
The baby survived and was doing well. In a statement, the UN strongly condemned the circumstance that led to her death stating that similar situations can’t be allowed to continue.
Police have thus launched an investigation together with the State Gender Commission.
Zimbabwean feminist activist Everjoice Win has implored the government to rid the country of bad laws to pave way for new ones.
By law, girls in the country are allowed to get married at the age of 18, while the age of sexual consent is 16 years.
Most of the families engage in early marriages as they believe it provides a financial advantage, leaving the girls with merely the hope of going to school.
So far, an online petition has been flagged off with about 60,000 people signing for the purpose of attaining justice for the deceased.