By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
25 June 2014
The mother of the Chimanimani girls who have been missing for a month has spoken to SW Radio Africa saying she suspects the children are with the local ZANU PF businessman who had initially abducted them before their disappearance.
An initial report from the Zimbabwe Peace Project said the missing girls were siblings but Mai Marirwana said Hazel and Tatenda Marirwana are her daughters but Tilda Mutisi is a niece.
Mai Marirwana however confirmed that the three cousins are still missing and said she suspects that Amon Jirisera, the local ZANU PF businessman, is hiding them somewhere to conceal evidence of sexual abuse.
The three girls were initially abducted by Jirisera from the Machongwe Business Center where he runs a tuck-shop. A search party traced the girls to Jirisera’s house the following day, where it was alleged that one of the girls had been sexually abused.
The parents reported the case and left the girls in police custody and made a request for a medical exam at Mutambara Hospital. According to Mai Marirwana the police phoned on the following day to say they had released the girls because they could not feed them. When they did not reach home the police refused to investigate the disappearance, threatening to arrest the parents themselves.
Mai Marirwana said the police should have handed the girls over to the parents instead of releasing them and letting them go on their own. She added: ‘I think it was a mistake on the part of the police to just tell the girls to go home on their own. That’s where things went wrong and now the police are not listening to us.’
Since last week SW Radio Africa has been reporting on the issue with little corporation from relevant state departments or organizations that work in the human rights area. Many said they were not aware of the matter, while those that knew of it were not prepared to share information.
An official at a faith-based organization said the girls are ‘not missing per se but it’s a complicated and long story.’ An official from the department of child welfare and probation services confirmed the story but refused to comment further saying ‘as a ministry we don’t just speak to the press like that.’
Erick Mukutiri from the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission told SW Radio Africa that they are currently investigating the matter.