Law enforcement agents have arrested suspects involved in the death of 14-year-old Memory Machaya who died at Marange Apostolic sect shrine in Bocha while giving birth, legislators heard yesterday.
The girl, who had been forced out of school, had allegedly been married off to one of the sect members, died on July 15 and was secretly buried two hours later by the church.
Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni said investigations into the case was at an advanced stage, including arresting family members who had offered the husband another girl as a wife.
Minister Nyoni said this in the National Assembly while responding to backbenchers during question and answer session.
Mutare Central MP, Innocent Gonese wanted to know what the Government was doing to prevent child marriages.
“I want to assure you that Government is very concerned about child marriages. There is the Marriage Amendment Bill that is very strong on prevention of child marriages. I am happy that police have arrested some of the culprits including the family that had already given the man another child as wife,” said Minister Nyoni.
Responding to another question, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Anxious Masuka said the bulk of the land had been taken up and there was no more unoccupied farms.
He said Government was coming up with another strategy to open a window allowing those interested in land to be allocated.
Minister Masuka was responding to a barrage of questions from MDC Alliance legislators who were expressing frustration on what they felt was a slow pace at which land applications were being handled.
The demand for action from MDC Alliance on the historic land reform programme comes despite the fact that the opposition party has been consistently denouncing the program both at home and abroad in the last two decades.
“There is no guarantee that if someone applies for land today, two months down the line or after 10 years, he will get it. We have 2 500 applications who want land for the 99 percent given to people. There is no additional land,” said Minister Masuka.
He said Government was now looking for derelict, abandoned land or underutilised or multiple farmers from which to procure land for those who have applied for it.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Felix Mhona told legislators that Government has now imported adequate number plates enough to cover the gap that has been created by huge shortages that have resulted in many cars moving with unregistered vehicles.
The prevalence of unregistered vehicles has also seen criminal elements taking advantage as they would remove number plates before embarking on criminal activities like robbery knowing that they would not be stopped at security check points.
Minister Mhona said the new number plates will augment Government plans to produce them locally as part of initiation by the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa.
“The issue of number plates, we have now imported adequate number plates that will cover the shortage that we have been experiencing,” said Minister Mhona.
He said the Government has also initiated the process of producing number plates using local institutions of higher learning and other stakeholders using local resources.