A GRADE Four learner in Nyanga is heavily pregnant after she was interchangeably sexually abused by her uncle, a cousin and a school mate.
The learner, who cannot be named to protect her identity, is now six months pregnant and in the interest of her future and that of her baby, she is continuing with her lessons in line with Government’s policy.
She turned 13 on January 6.
Speaking on Wednesday during a public awareness campaign spearheaded by The Manica Post to fight teen pregnancies and child marriages in Marange, the Provincial Education Director, Mr Edward Shumba said every child has the right to education, adding that under Zimbabwean law, pregnant girls are allowed to continue with their education.
In an interview with The Manica Post on Monday at Kaitano Primary School, with the consent of her father, the Grade Four learner revealed that she was intimate with her uncle, who is in his late 40s; her 23-year-old cousin and a 15-year-old school mate.
The abusers were identified as Alison Mabvundisa, Joseph Mabota-Mabvumba and a 15-year old teenager (name withheld).
From enquiries done by this reporter in the area, the uncle, a known artisanal gold miner, is strongly believed to have sexually abused the minor as a way to enhance his gold mining initiatives, a ritual act known as kupinga gomba.
This is done with the help of traditional healers.
The visibly shaken learner said: “I slept with Baba vaTalent (Mabvundisa). This happened while I was alone at home. I also slept with my schoolmate (name withheld) and Joseph Mabota-Mabvumba.”
In a separate interview, the Grade Four learner’s father, (name withheld to protect her identity) said: “We were informed of her pregnancy by the school authorities. In fact, we were summoned to the school and they told us that she is pregnant.
“We are being assisted to handle the matter by a local child care worker and we have been to the clinic with her. She is six months pregnant now.
“The school allowed her to continue attending lessons and will only be excused to give birth. She will continue with her education soon afterwards. Her uncle is said to be the one responsible for the pregnancy.”
Asked on whether he has confronted his brother over the issue, he said: “I have not talked to him. He is no longer coming this side. My daughter also mentioned that she was intimate with two other people and this complicates the whole issue.”
The local child care worker, Ms Dudzai Matiwenga said the matter was reported to the police, adding that the suspects were briefly arrested before they were released.
“I received the report of this child’s pregnancy after the school authorities referred her to the clinic. Teachers discovered that she is pregnant during a sports event.
“When I contacted the Social Services Department, I was advised to take the child to the police. The father had to sell a goat to raise the bus fare for us to go to the police. Unfortunately the child has difficulties in explaining what really happened to her.
“Two of the alleged perpetrators (the teenager and Mabota-Mabvumba) were initially arrested, but have since been released. When we went to the clinic, we were told that it is too late to terminate the pregnancy,” she said.
“The child told us that she was in love with her school mate and Mabota-Mabvumba. She said the school mate was her long time boyfriend. She said he would visit her at home and coerce her to be intimate with him several times.
“She also told us that she met Mabota-Mabvumba on her way from fetching water while he was going to the tuck-shop. They got intimate that day. Later, the issue of her uncle, who is his late 40s, then surfaced,” said Ms Matiwenga.
The child care worker said she is now facing daily threats from families of the accused persons.
“I am not sure how to continue with my work in this area because of the threats I am getting from relatives of the accused persons. It appears as if they think I have something against them, yet I am just trying to help this child,” she said.
Ms Matiwenga said the situation has been worsened by the questionable mental state of the Grade Four learner and her parents.
“It is sad that her (the learner)’s situation is being worsened by her state of mind. This also applies to both her parents. They are not articulate and seem to have mental health issues,” she said.
True to Ms Matiwenga’s observations, during the interviews both the father and his child could only identify timelines through meteorological seasons and not through actual months or dates.
Member of the House of Assembly for Nyanga North, under whose jurisdiction the area falls, Honourable Chido Sanyatwe said: “It is sad that we continue having cases of children being sexually abused when they should be concentrating on their schoolwork.
“When I heard about her issue, I nearly cried. It is a sorry state of affairs and I have already activated systems to see to it that she gets all the necessary assistance. We will leave no place and person behind, no matter their state, in our drive to develop our constituency and the nation at large.”