Girl (13) disappears from Marange shrine; church says ‘high priest’ Noah Taguta opposed to child marriages
MUTARE (Manica Post) – The death of Anna Machaya (14) while giving birth at the Johanne Marange Apostolic Church’s Mafararikwa Shrine during their Passover gathering last month has opened a Pandora’s Box after another 13-year-old girl was allegedly married off at the same time.
Although the church has denied gathering last month, investigations by The Manica Post revealed that Violet Mushati, who was in the company of her grandmother Violet Saini Zhangaroti from Taruvinga Village in Mutiusinazita area of Buhera South, was last seen at the shrine on July 18.
Violet, who was doing Grade Seven at Barura Primary School, is reported to have ‘‘vanished’’ while they were preparing to leave for their Buhera home with other congregants.
Just like Anna Machaya, whose burial place is still unaccounted for, no one has leads on Violet’s whereabouts.
Although, Zhangaroti and her husband, Enock Mushati Mucharwa have continued expressing ignorance over the young girl’s whereabouts, Violet’s South Africa-based father, Tinashe Mushati Mucharwa and other relatives believe that she was married off during the church gathering.
Relatives claim that from their enquiries, they had gathered that Violet was lured by a ‘‘suitor’’ who was flaunting United States of America dollars while spoiling her with snacks during the church gathering.
Some of the Mucharwas claim that Violet’s ‘‘marriage’’ could have been settled by goodies like sugar and a small monetary token reportedly given to her grandparents.
Her 13-year-old cousin was reportedly married off last year in similar fashion. The girl is said to have recently lost her baby after complications during delivery.
Despite Violet having ‘‘disappeared’’ a month ago, Zhangaroti only made a missing person report with the police on Tuesday this week.
As The Manica Post probed Violet’s whereabouts, Zhangaroti on Tuesday, said: “I am on my way to Mutiusinazita Police Station to make a report on Violet’s ‘‘disappearance’’. She vanished soon after our Passover gathering at Mafararikwa Shrine on July 18. We were together at the Marange gathering and she ‘‘disappeared’’ as we were about to leave for Buhera.
“I tried to locate her in vain. I was having a terrible headache and was advised to go and rest at home. Some people are saying Violet eloped with another congregant, but these are unsubstantial rumours. She is still too young to be married. We have looked for her everywhere and I could not make a police report all this time because I was bedridden. Her disappearance is not something new as these cases are common after our church gatherings.”
However, a bitter Tinashe in an interview from his South Africa base, said he believes his daughter was now staying with her ‘‘husband’’.
“My brother, it is difficult to fathom that someone is staying with my daughter as a wife. I am keen to know the truth because I am not buying my parents’ explanation of Violet’s disappearance. We sent out search parties all over, but this has drawn blanks.”
An uncle, Innocent Mucharwa, said: “My brother, Enock Mushati Mucharwa and his wife, Zhangaroti know Violet’s whereabouts. This is not the first incident to be reported in this family. Tafadzwa is between a rock and a hard place because while he wants justice to prevail, he cannot expose his parents’ shenanigans.
“All his sisters were married off in the same manner. Last year, one of his sisters was married off at 13 and gave birth this year. The baby died soon after delivery due to birth complications.”
Johanne Marange Apostolic Church coordinator and spokesperson, Mr Nyasha Marange, said: “Violet’s case is still to be brought to our attention. We never gathered last month as is being alleged by the Mucharwas.
“We do not condone child marriages and if, indeed, she was married off, the law should take its course.
‘‘When individuals commit offences, the church will not protect them. We have suffered a lot of bad publicity because of individuals’ misdeeds and I want to reiterate that our High Priest, Noah Taguta always speaks strongly against child marriages.
“We are a law-abiding church and we urge the police to thoroughly investigate Violet’s disappearance and bring all perpetrators to book.”
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