By Leopold Munhende
IN a soap opera-style development, police investigations have revealed that Memory Machaya, for long thought to be the girl who died while giving birth at the Johane Marange shrine in Bocha, is alive and it is actually her younger sister who died.
Police said they found out that it was Anna Machaya (14), Memory’s cousin who died while giving birth on 15 July and a sinister plot by Anna’s parents Edmore Machaya (45) and Shy Mabika (36) to cover up the whole ordeal by misrepresenting that it was 22-year-old Memory who had died.
According to the police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, Memory is a 22 year old daughter of the couple who is married to one Lameck Makonye Sigodhla based in Mhondoro.
In a statement Thursday, Nyathi said Anna’s parents had gone out of their way in convincing investigators she (Anna) was born in 1999, which would have made her 22 years old, by sharing with them copies of an ID of her namesake, daughter to Ernest Machaya, brother to Edmore.
Husband to Anna, Hatirarami Evans Momberume has since been arrested and faces rape charges.
“The police has indeed conducted comprehensive investigations culminating in the arrest of Hatirarami Momberume (26) alias Evans Momberume,” said Nyathi.
“The minor who died in this case is Anna Machaya, born on 5 July 2006 and not Memory Machaya, born on 2 January 1999. It is correct that Anna Machaya died on 15 July 2021 and was buried at the shrine after experiencing complications while giving birth.”
Anna’s parents have also been arrested.
The police will be pressing criminal charges on the couple for obstructing the course of justice and further charges of pledging another minor to Momberume.
Added Nyathi: “The police is also pressing criminal charges against Anna Machaya’s father, Edmore and mother Shy for obstructing or defeating the course of justice. The parents openly lied to the police that Anna Machaya was born on 2 January 1999, the mother went on to give police investigators a national ID in a bid to prove that she was born on 2 January 1999. This was false, investigations have revealed that the ID produced belonged to a namesake of the late minor who is daughter to Ernest Machaya. It is through school records in Mhondoro that the police actually proved that the late Anna Machaya was born on 5 July 2006 to Edmore and Shy.”
The issue has grabbed local and regional headlines with state security agents being forced to act after public outcry.
For over a month Zimbabweans were made to believe it was actually Memory who had died, with parliament even calling on child marriage related issues to be prioritised.