Murdered girl: Residents blame slack police approach

HARARE - Residents of Rugare in Harare are up in arms with the local police after the bloodied body of a missing girl was found in a maize field.
 
Angry residents said police should have done more to save the child.

The body of 10-year-old Stacy Munjoma was found near Rugare Community Hall at around 9am on Wednesday morning.

Stacy, who had been reported missing on Monday morning, was found half naked with her blouse stained with blood.

No arrests have been made as police are still investigating the matter.

A large cortege of mourners including the Member of Parliament and deputy minister of Mines Gift Chimanikire and councillor Peter Moyo converged at Warren Hills cemetery where Stacy was laid to rest on Sunday afternoon.

Residents who came out in their numbers to bury Stacy took turns to express disappointment at the way police handled the case.

One irate female mourner said: “How can the police in all their wisdom say that a missing 10-year-old girl’s parents should wait for seven days before they start looking for her? Do they really think that a 10-year-old child could elope?”

Yet another enraged mourner queried: “Do the police honestly think that a 10-year-old girl can be a drunkard who had gone on a drinking binge.”

A post-mortem conducted on the Rugare Primary School Grade 4 pupil revealed that her death had been caused by the shock and trauma she endured after being raped, according to Stacy’s father Bothwell Munjoma.

Stacy’s mother Miriam, who worships in the Vapostori sect, said when they received the call from her mother who was living with the deceased girl, they consulted several prophets while still in Cape Town.

“Everywhere we went we were told my daughter had been abducted by a tall, slim, light in complexion woman. They said she was being sexually abused. We were told to conduct a series of prayers and fasting but my daughter died anyway,” Miriam said of her first born child.

Miriam said her daughter met her fate when she was coming from her aunt’s house in Kambuzuma where she normally spent her weekends.

The deceased is said to have been accompanied by her elder cousin who assisted her to cross the road on Sunday at around 5pm.

The elder cousin then left Stacy to proceed to Rugare which is about a 30 minutes’ walk away from Kambuzuma.

“On Sunday evening my mother called my sister and asked when the child was coming and my sister told her, tomorrow believing she meant another child Slyvia who was also with her,” the grieving mother said.

But on Monday Stacy’s grandmother, who is a vendor who plies her trade at Rugare Primary School, noticed that her granddaughter had not entered the school yards.

She then called Stacy’s aunt in Kambuzuma to enquire about the child’s whereabouts.

Only then was it discovered the child was missing and a police report was made.

Stacy however, is just one out of the thousands of girls who are sexually abused in Zimbabwe.

Councillor Moyo said residents were so touched they contributed and secured a grave for Stacy at Granville cemetery, but he chipped in and secured a grave at Warren Hills.

“Residents also staged a demo on Saturday afternoon in protest of this inhumane act,” Moyo said.

“I was actually at the forefront of this demo and as you can see people have come out in their numbers. Some even walked all the way from Rugare to bury Stacy,” Moyo said.

Moyo vowed to worker harder to ensure that cases of child abuse are curbed.

“We are going to work hand in hand with children rights’ organisations like Tag-A-Life.”

Nyaradzo Mashayamombe, director of Tag-A-Life said more is needed to be done by all stakeholders who include the community, legislature, executive and judiciary to ensure the problem of child sexual abuse is dealt with holistically.

“The fact that it is happening to women is making leaders ignore this problem but that is why we are facing all these problems like HIV/Aids,” she said.

“Most countries around the world are run by men. Men are not affected by these things that is why you hear a lot of pressure to say we should have women in key positions.”

Mashayamombe urged the police to employ the same vigour they use in their quest to end prostitution to end child sexual abuse.

According to a report by the Victim Friendly Unit, more than 2 400 girls were raped between January and October last year.

Childline Zimbabwe, which assists children in distress, said 69 percent of the calls they received last year were from girls who had been sexually abused last year alone. - Thelma Chikwanha, Features Editor

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