By Staff Reporter
CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) Kadoma Central legislator Muchineripi Chinyanganya has called on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to urgently condemn early child marriages which are rampant in the Apostolic Sect.
This comes after a Marange Apostolic Sect member reportedly married a 10-year-old child.
Speaking on a point of national interest, Chinyanganya said Mnangagwa must condemn his ‘supporters’ for arranging and engaging in abuse of young girls.
Mnangagwa who draws a huge part of his support from the Apostolic sect has in the past been accused of handling them with kids gloves, ignoring their abuse of minors.
“My point of national interest arises from the continued acts of child marriages that are being perpetuated by men, especially amongst the apostolic sects.
“Recently, there is a story of a 64-year-old-man who married a 10-year-old girl and the man belongs to the apostolic sect. I implore the President of the country that when he goes to address those apostolic sects, he should speak out against child marriages which is rampant amongst those sects.
“I think if he does so, those members would really take heed of his words because as it stands, we will not have the girl child developing and attaining their goals because they are being married at a tender age,” he said.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda agreed to his proposal but urged the MPs to formulate a law against such practises.
“While it is good that you request that the State President addresses the apostolic sect about early child marriages, I thought you were going to include yourselves as Hon. Members as well to do the same, but more importantly, what seems to work is a law.
“You must look at the law in this House on early child marriages and perhaps come up with stiffer penalties.
“As you are going to address also yourselves on the Bill on Child Rights, perhaps that can be included as well to ensure that penalties are put in place for those who offend in that regard,” Mudenda responded.
Opposition legislator Chalton Hwende interjected after an Apostolic Sect member and Zanu PF Mutare West MP Teedzayi Muchimwe raised a point of order on the issue.
“Ndiye mumwe wacho iyeye, 34 wives,” said Hwende claiming “16 of them are under age.”
Muchimwe angrily responded, “Zvenyu zvamuri kutaura handizvizivi.”
Hwende told the Speaker that when one marries and impregnates a 10-year-old, it is not marriage but rape and the country has sufficient laws.
“What is needed is for police to stop looking at mapostori (Apostles) as possible voters and arrest people who are sleeping with 10-year-olds,” he said.
Mudenda called for a stiffer penalty urging the MPs to push for a mandatory sentence.
“The law is insufficient and needs to be tightened up so that we have a serious penalty. The other side of the coin which you raised Hon. Member is basically on rape.
“The other day I was watching television, a man raping a three-month-old child. Can you imagine 3, 6 and so on. This House must come up with draconian laws against rape just like what it did with stock theft. Mandatory sentence, no option of a fine,” he lamented.