THE trial of Johanne Marange apostolic sect member Hatirarami Momberume, who is facing murder charges after his 14-year-old child bride died in July this year due to labour complications, is set to start today.

Last month, Momberume was granted $50 000 bail by High Court judge Justice Muzenda.

The child-bride, Anna Machaya, died on July 15 this year at the sect’s shrine in Marange, Manicaland province.

This sparked a public outcry, with women’s groups denouncing the marrying off of young girls by the sect.

Momberume is represented by Brian Majamanda of Khupe and Chijara Law Chambers.

Majamanda confirmed to NewsDay yesterday that the trial would begin today.

“Yes, after being granted bail, we will be back in the regional court tomorrow (today) for trial,” he said

Before he was granted bail, Justice Muzenda questioned why the State preferred to slap him with a murder charge.

The judge said the State should prove the essential elements of murder in Momberume’s case before granting bail.

According to the State, Momberume unlawfully caused the death of Machaya by failing to take her to a medical facility to receive healthcare services during labour.

Momberume, instead, took Machaya to Johanne Marange sect midwives, where she delivered and died after labour complications.

He hid the news of her death and proceeded to bury her without notifying authorities.

In order to cover up for the offence, the accused and his relatives claimed that the person who had died was Memory Machaya, born on January 2, 1999.

Investigations later revealed that the person married to the accused was, indeed, Anna, a minor, not Memory, leading to his arrest.