|Man jailed for forcing daughter to drop out of school to marry|
|Saturday, 09 June 2012 22:46|
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Vincent Gono in NkayiAT a time when Government is upping efforts to protect the rights of the traditionally disadvantaged girl child, a 17-year-old girl was recently forced to drop out of school by her father who is a member of an apostolic sect with the intention of forcing her to marry a 31-year-old man in fulfilment of a dream by the would-be husband.
The incident occurred in Gwitshi area in Nkayi last month.
The father of the girl and two other relatives made the Form Four girl drop out of school and took her to the would-be husband’s house to have sex with the man.
They said it was their church’s custom that girls were not supposed to be educated but should marry when they reach the age of 12 and have their own homes.
This was heard during the initial appearance of the girl’s father Abias Ndlovu (39), the would-be husband Jeremiah Sihle Dube and two other relatives of the girl, Mandla Ndlovu (35) and Maria Sibanda (34).
The four, who are apostolic sect congregates were charged with pledging as defined in Section 94 (1) (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 when they appeared before Nkayi resident magistrate Mr Ndumo Masuku.
They were sentenced to 12 months each of which three months were suspended for five years on condition that they do not commit a similar offence. They will therefore serve an effective sentence of nine months in prison.
The State case as presented by the prosecutor Mr Maxwell Hapanyengwi was that the girl's father took her from the custody of her grandmother in Mbondweni area in Nkayi and made her drop out of school at Hlangabeza High School.
Her father told her that it was their church's custom that girls were not supposed to be sent to school but should be married at the age of 12 and have their own families.
Abias told his daughter that by growing to the age of 17 and getting as far as Form Four, she had acted contrary to the customs of the church and could not be allowed to continue contravening the church customs.
Mr Hapanyengwi told the court that the father took the girl to a church gathering where after prayers she was informed by Mandla and Sibanda that someone who would marry her was waiting.