Harare, 13 August, 2021 / 8:45 pm (ACI Africa).
The demise of a 14-year-old girl who died while giving birth at a shrine in Zimbabwe last month has prompted Christian leaders in the Southern African nation to call for an “independent national inquiry” into the sexual abuse of women and girls in church premises.
Memory Machaya is reported to have died on July 15 at the Johanne Marange Apostolic Church while giving birth to a child she allegedly conceived with Evans Momberume, a member of the church to whom she was married at the age of 13.
“We are calling for an independent national inquiry into sexual abuse of women and girls in general but on the abuse in the churches in particular,” Christian leaders under the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) say in a statement, which ACI Africa obtained Friday, August 13.
“We are concerned that so many cases involving religious men accused of abusing women and girls have not resulted in a transparent investigation trial and successful prosecutions,” they say.
In some instances, ZHOCD members say, abuse cases against the religious persons have been suspended or unwarranted bails have been given to the accused.