Police have preferred murder charges against 26-year-old Hatirarami Momberume, the supposed husband to 15-year-old Annah Machaya who died while giving birth last month at an apostolic church shrine in Manicaland.
Police on Thursday said they were charging Momberume with rape but he later appeared in court also facing murder.
It is the state’s case that Momberume, a farm worker in Kwekwe, caused the girl’s death by impregnating her and failing to take her to the hospital to receive proper health services.
Court papers read in part, “Instead, the accused person took Annah Machaya to Johanne Marange traditional midwives where she delivered and died after some labour complications.
“He thereafter secretly buried her without notifying the authorities of her death.”
Momberume is also being charged for being intimate or performing indecent acts with a young person.
He was arrested in Kwekwe on Wednesday following a public outcry over government’s perceived reluctance to take a stand against the rampant practice of child marriages still being practised against the law within the white robed church.
Momberume is in custody and can only apply for bail via the High Court as he faces a serious crime of murder.
Parents of the late child bride, Edmore Machaya (45) and Ratchel Mabika (36), have also been arrested.
They both face charges of defeating the course of justice after they falsely claimed the late minor’s name was Memory Machaya in attempts to conceal the offence.
A Memory Machaya exists within the family and is 22 years of age.
Annah died 15 July this year due to complications while delivering a baby boy.
Her case has become the rallying point of a massive campaign against rampant child marriages in general and the practice within the apostolic church in particular.
World organisations such as the United Nations and Plan International have also come out in condemnation of the primitive practice which was outlawed in Zimbabwe.