News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

World News

Arrests made after child bride dies giving birth at Zimbabwe church

Zimbabwean police have arrested a 26-year-old man after a teenage girl died while giving birth at a church site. 

Anna Machaya, 15, is thought to have died at the church site in the eastern region of Marange on July 15 before being secretly buried by members of her congregation. She was reportedly forced to leave school to get married.

The accused man, Hatirarami Momberume, faces charges of child rape. Anna's parents are accused of lying about her age and also pledging another of their daughters, 9, to the same man.

Anna's death has highlighted the practice of child marriage within Zimbabwe's Apostolic Church, which is known to reject medicine and hospital treatment. 

The United Nations expressed "deep concern" about the case and urged Zimbabwe to tackle the issue of child marriage. 

"The current trend of unresolved cases of violence against women and girls in Zimbabwe, including marriages of minors, cannot continue with impunity," the UN said in a statement.

A petition calling for justice for the young girl has been signed more than 93,000 times. It reads: "As citizens we need to put pressure on all duty bearers involved to act and bring a stop to child sexual abuse that is prevalent in religious sects. No religious leader is above the law. If they are marrying off children and sanctioning rape of minors they should be arrested. These sects should respect the law or they should not be allowed to operate in Zimbabwe." 

Zimbabwean feminist activist Everjoice Win tweeted that it was time for people to pressure those "with the power to uphold the law, or make new laws". Win added that women and girls are "not seen as fully human, with individual rights... to control our own bodies". 

A 2016 Constitutional Court decision ruled that child marriages were "unconstitutional" and set 18 as the minimum marriage age for girls and boys. However, human rights groups say that the apostolic church has largely ignored the precedent. 

A new bill to categorically ban the marriage of anyone below 18 years and prosecute anyone involved in the marriage of a minor is currently being debated in Zimbabwe's parliament.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email