Police attribute rise in infanticide, child marriages to poverty

Top Stories Zimbabwe

ZTN Correspondent

Police in Zimbabwe have attributed the increasing number of infanticide and child marriages to  poverty.

In Manicaland, one Hatirarame Momberume is facing murder charges following the death of a 15 year-old, Anna Machaya who was his alleged wife.

The Form One student died while giving birth and was secretly buried at a church shrine.

The girl’s parents are also facing justice for misleading the police after lying that it was Memory Machaya who had died.

But, after extensive investigations, police discovered that Memory is 21 years old and is married in Mhondoro.

In Mashonaland Central province two women, Happiness Kandunduma, 25, of Chevakadzi village under Chief Bushu and Jessica Mataja, 40, of Rangameri farm, Mvurwi were arrested this week for infanticide.

The duo gave birth, on separate occasions, and threw the infants into a pit and dam respectively.

Investigators say Happiness Kandunduma gave birth alone in the bush and threw the baby into a pit.

The crime came to light after a dog arrived at an informant’s yard dragging the baby’s corpse, resulting in an arrest being effected.

Mashonaland Central police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Naison Dhliwayo said; “The informant saw a dog emerging from a bush dragging the corpse of a newly born baby without a leg and an arm. The corpse had deep holes on the head. The informant subsequently made areport at Bindura rural police.”

As a result of the investigations, police received a tip off that Kandunduma had given birth, but the community did not see her with the child.

Assistant Inspector Dhliwayo added; “Police then interviewed the suspect who confessed that she

gave birth and threw the child into the pit, resulting in her arrest.”

The other suspect, Jessica Mataja gave birth alone in her hut and wrapped the newly born baby in plastic and threw her in a dam where the infant drowned.

Assistant Inspector Dhliwayo said; “Two juveniles saw a plastic floating in a dam and upon investigating they discovered that the plastic had a dead newly born baby and made a report at ZRP Mvurwi.”

“Investigations led police to one Jessica Mataja, 40, who confessed that she indeed gave birth alone in her hut and wrapped it in plastic before throwing it in the dam. Police arrested the suspect.”

Police say there are better ways of addressing social and economic problems.

“There are several options to deal with economic and social challenges such as approaching social welfare or seeking assistance from family members and friends because these infanticides are caused by social and economic challenges,” he said.