A 42-YEAR-OLD man from Gweru has been arrested for “marrying” a 15-year-old girl from Birchenough Bridge.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the girl’s identity is from the Mkoba 16 suburb of Gweru. He allegedly met the girl at Birchenough Bridge in March last year and proposed to her in love.
The girl accepted before the accused allegedly coerced her into marrying him the same month.
The accused person allegedly paid lobola to the minor’s parents before the two left for Gweru where they started cohabiting as husband and wife from March last year to February this year. In terms of Zimbabwe’s laws, juveniles below the age of 16 are not able to make life decisions or consent to sex.
The accused is facing a charge of having sexual intercourse with a young person.
He pleaded not guilty when he appeared before Gweru provincial magistrate Mr Edwin Marecha. The magistrate remanded him in custody to March 25. The State was opposed to bail as it is waiting for the girl’s parents to submit a statement. Their whereabouts are however said to be unknown.
Prosecuting, Mr Pearson Muringani said the matter came to light after the complainant asked the accused for some bus fare so that she could visit her parents and he refused.
“Sometime in March 2020, the accused met the complainant in Birchenough Bridge and proposed love. She accepted.
“The same month, the accused decided to marry the complainant and he went and paid lobola to her parents. They then travelled to Gweru where they have been staying as husband and wife,” said Mr Muringani. He said the matter came to light last week when the accused and complainant had a misunderstanding over some bus fare which the latter wanted to use to go and see her parents in Birchenough Bridge.
“After he refused, the complainant went and told her neighbour who reported the matter to the police leading to his arrest,” said Mr Muringani. The complainant was referred to Gweru Provincial Hospital for medical examination.