19 March 2018

Tanzania: Parents Go Into Hiding Over Teenage Marriages

Photo: Girls Not Brides
Child marriages. (file photo).

Sumbawanga — POLICE in Rukwa region have embarked on extensive hunt for Matembezi Mugo and his wife over allegations of marrying off their two teenagers to a 75-year old husband.

The husband, Mtokambali Chele has married the two sisters, aged 14 and 16 years. Both, Mugo and Chele are pastoralists in Swaila village in Nkasi district. Rukwa Regional Police Commander (RPC) George Kyando told the 'Daily News' yesterday that the police have already arrested the husband who is currently being retained at Nkasi District Police Station.

The RPC vowed that no stone will remain untouched until the fugitive Mugos are arrested and prosecuted, adding that preliminary police investigations show that they have run to the neighbouring region.

Undisclosed reports have it that Mugo and his wife had in different occasions forcibly married off their daughters but the evil leaked after their 14-year old daughter escaped from the 'husband' and surrendered herself to Nkasi District Police Station in Namanyere Town, objecting to her parents' forceful marriage to the 75-year husband. According to the RPC, at the moment, the girl has been temporarily accommodated by the In charge of Nkasi District Police, Desk for Gender and Children, Ms Anna Kisimba at her house in Namanyere.

Reports from Swaila Village have it that the Mugos had towards the end of last year forcibly married off their 16-year daughter to the old man who paid a dowry of 50 head of cattle . The newly married girl allegedly ran away from her husband after discovering his advanced age and the fact that the old man already had four wives, 50 children and unknown numbers of grand children and grand grand children.

Mugo's neighbours who preferred anonymity told this paper at different interviews that Chele's first wife has 14 children, the second has 13 while the third and fourth wives have 12 and 11 children, respectively. According to the RPC after the 'husband' discovered that his youngest 'wife' had escaped from her matrimonial house at Swaila Village, he rushed to his father-inlaw, demanding the refund of all his dowry, because the wife had ran away from him.

"However, the Mugos consoled their in-law with another 'wife' aged 14 years old to fill the gap left by her fugitive sister... . because he was not ready at all to refund the dowry," said the RPC.

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