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Parents arrested over child marriage

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Police in Mangochi have arrested a man and a woman for allegedly forcing a 15-year-girl to marry a 19-year-old man against her will.

Mangochi Police Station spokesperson Amina Daudi has identified the suspects as 42-year-old Adam Kazembe and 38-year-old Mercy Manyowa.

Kazembe is the father of the 19-year-old man who was convicted of defilement and is serving a jail term following his marriage to the underage girl who is Manyowa’s daughter.

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It is reported that during court proceedings, the girl’s husband revealed that his father had pushed him to marry the young girl.

“It was revealed that, in March this year, after returning from South Africa, the man and his father [Kazembe] agreed with Manyowa that he should marry her daughter.

“The girl, who is a Standard eight learner, was being forced by her mother to spend nights with the convict and would perform duties of a wife in the process,” Daudi said.

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After the girl withdrew from school, her teachers reported the matter to child protection officers who alerted the police.

At Chiponde Health Centre, where a medical examination was conducted, it was revealed that the girl had been defiled. This led to the arrest of her husband.

In court, the 19-year-old revealed that he was influenced by the two parents to marry the underage girl and Senior Resident Magistrate Rodrick Michongwe ordered the arrest of Kazembe and Manyowa.

The two parents are expected to appear in court to answer charges of forcing a child into marriage, against the Child Care, Protection and Justice Act.

Both suspects come from Traditional Authority Jalasi in the lakeshore district.

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