GUTU – Joe Makumbe (43), a self-styled prophet has left Soti Source Resettlement villagers in Gutu North angry after he allegedly eloped with a girl (name supplied) who was doing Form 2 at Tongogara High School.
Soti Source High School head, Judith Shamhu confirmed the case and said that the girl is no longer coming to school.
Sources told The Mirror that Makumbe, a polygamous prophet from Johanne Masowe (Venguo Tsvuku) who comes from the Matizha area under Chief Serima in Masvingo was camped with the girl’s family for two months as he prayed for the family and did his work in the area.
At the beginning of this month, Makumbe returned to his home but he went away with the girl. He allegedly came back on September 21, 2021 and paid US$20 tsvakirai kuno, the first amount paid in the process of lobola and the girl’s family accepted it.
It is unlawful under the Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, to marry a girl who is under the age of 18 and it is also unlawful for parents to participate in such a marriage.
Acting Masvingo Police Spokesperson, Lloyd Masundire said the Police is not aware of the case.
Efforts to get a comment from the girl’s mother (name supplied) were futile.
However, girl’s uncle confirmed the case stating that the marriage rites were yet to be performed.
“As a family we were equally moved after it came to our notice that the child had eloped with the prophet. We were never informed on anything,” said the uncle.
Gutu Ward three councillor Francis Mago could not be reached for a comment.
Plan International an organisation that concerns itself with issues of the girl child said early or forced marriage or unions are a violation of children’s human rights as it rob millions of girls under 18 around the world of their childhood.
Shamhu said the School is going to investigate the matter and file a report establish with the District Schools Inspector.
“The girl is no longer attending School. I have heard that she has been married off to a man with several wives. As a school we are supposed to establish what really transpired so as to come up with an informed decision,” said Shamhu.
There was an outcry in the country last month an underage girl is said to have died while giving birth at a church shrine in Manicaland with many people calling for investigations of most of the indigenous churches. Those girls are normally forced into early marriages.
According to UNICEF 12 million girls globally are forced into marriages before the age of 18 every year and nearly 650 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday.
“Daughters are frequently seen as burdens or commodities because of pervasive gender inequality,
“In places where the groom’s family pays a bride price, parents in difficult economic circumstances may marry off their daughters as a source of income,” says the United Nations Population Fund.