A couple who married off their 14-year-old daughter before she died during child birth have been spared prison.
Edmore Machaya, 45, and his wife Shy Mabika, 36, were jailed for nine months each after being convicted on charges of defeating or obstructing the course of justice by Kwekwe magistrate Samukelisiwe Gumbo.
During sentencing on Wednesday, the magistrate conditionally suspended the prison sentence.
One month was chopped off for good behaviour, three were scrapped on condition they don’t reoffend within five years and Gumbo imposed Z$60,000 fines in lieu of the remaining five month
Anna Machaya died on July 16 last year from excessive bleeding, hours after she gave birth at a shrine of the Johane Marange apostolic sect near Mutare.
When police opened an inquiry, her parents lied that her name was Memory Machaya. They also claimed she was born on January 2, 1999, which would have made her 22 when she died.
Police exposed the lie after going to Wanganui High School where a copy of the dead girl’s birth certificate was obtained. It showed that her name was Anna Machaya and she was born on July 5, 2006.
She had been forced to drop out of school whilst doing Form 2 after falling pregnant.
Her parents, the Kwekwe Magistrate’s Court heard, had married her off to Hatirarami Momberume alias Evans Michael Momberume, a 25-year-old devotee of the Johane Marange apostolic sect which is headquartered at a shrine in Mafararikwa village under Chief Marange. Child marriages are rampant in the sect.
Momberume has been charged with murder.