CHIPINGE Magistrate Elizabeth Hanzi on Tuesday found a local 48-year-old man guilty after he “married” a 14-year-old juvenile and took her home as his wife.
Msindo Makuyana, of New Year’s Gift, appeared before the courts charged with having sexual intercourse with a minor as defined in Section 70 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Makuyana was convicted on his own guilty plea and was sentenced to 36 months in jail. Six months were suspended on condition that he will not commit a similar offence in the next five years.
Asked why he committed the offence, Makuyana said he was misled by the girl’s physical appearance.
“I was not aware of the girl’s age. I thought she was an adult since she has a big body. I am begging for lenience because I am in good books with my wife (the minor). I also did not force her to be my wife,” begged Makuyana.
Prosecuting, Chipo Matanga said on August 8, Makuyana met the complainant (name withheld because of her age) at Samhutsa Business Centre and proposed love to her.
The girl consented to his proposal and agreed to marry Makuyana.
Matanga said the two went together to Makuyana’s house where they started staying together as husband and wife. She said the matter came to light after the two visited the complainant’s aunt, Susan Sigauke where she (the complainant) intended to introduce Makuyana as her husband.
“Ms Sigauke told Makuyana that he cannot marry the complainant because of her age,” said Ms Matanga.
Ms Sigauke made a police report on Monday leading to Makuyana’s arrest.
The complainant was taken to Chipinge District Hospital for medical examination.
No person, male or female, may enter into any marriage, including an unregistered customary law union or any other union, including one arising out of religion or religious rite, before attaining the age of 18.
Child marriages expose especially the girl child to the devastating consequences of early marriage: depriving girls of an education, exposing them to sexual violence, increasing the risks of sexually transmitted infections including HIV, early pregnancy and related maternal and child mortality.
Both the incidence of child marriage and the consequences are exacerbated by poverty, especially in rural areas with poor access to services.