By Marie Taruvinga
HIGH by the recent controversial death of a newlywed Annah Machaya, who died in childbirth, a Harare woman is now seeking to prevent members of the Apostolic Church in Marange from marrying young girls.
Sharon Moffat approached the High Court arguing that this was never the doctrine of the church and as such it should be arrested immediately.
Machaya died giving birth at Johanne Marange shrine, triggering a public outcry.
In a subpoena filed in court, Moffat, along with the Legal Resources Foundation and the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe, cited the church, the Council of Apostolic Churches, Minister of Health Constantino Chiwenga and Minister of Justice Ziyambi Ziyambi as accused.
She also quoted Home Secretary Kazembe Kazembe, Minister of Women’s Affairs Sithembiso Nyoni, Republic of Zimbabwe Police as well as Zimbabwe Gender Commission and Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.
Moffat accused the church and the Apostolic Church Council of tolerating an illegal practice.
“In violation of the doctrine, faith and laws of the first respondent, some of its members have taken to marrying and / or marrying girls. “
She said it had taken root in most religious organizations as well, giving the widely held but false impression that it was part of the religious beliefs of all indigenous African Apostolic Churches.
“Following these various violations, the first and second accused should have taken a stand to affirm their true convictions and their faith. a fundamental component of their faith. Moffat complained.
She asks that the court declare that the practice of child marriage is not part of the doctrine of the church and that it is a violation of articles 19, 26, 27, 51, 53, 78, 80 and 81 of the Constitution.
Moffat also demands that churches take steps to post a message in every place of worship for nineteen consecutive weeks that clarifies that girls’ marriage is not an aspect of their respective denominations and should not be committed in the name of their religion.