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Zimbabwe clamps down on underage marriage

Zimbabwe clamps down on underage marriage

Zimbabwe

The government of Zimbabwe is coming up with various laws among which is the offence for parents and guardians who accept Lobola (bride price) for children below the age of 18.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said it is a step in clamping down underage marriage.

Mnangagwa, who is also the overseer of Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, said several laws that need to be amended have also been identified.

The Act should also make it an offence for a guardian or other person to enter into a Lobola agreement or other customary marriage arrangement or ceremony in respect of a person under the age of 18.

He said government would not wait for constitutional ruling to outlaw child marriage in order to act. He added that they have several legislation that ought to be aligned with the constitution.

All Africa reports that the vice president was responding to a motion moved by proportionate Representative MP Ms Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga on the need to amend several child-related laws to protect children below the age of 18 from entering into marriages.

“The Act should also make it an offence for a guardian or other person to enter into a Lobola agreement or other customary marriage arrangement or ceremony in respect of a person under the age of 18,” he said.

He said Section 20 of Marriage Act providing for solemnization of marriage of a minor with the consent of the guardian or of the High Court would be repealed.

“This subsection should be amended to provide that no person under the age of 18 years shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage. Subsection (2) and (3) which envisages that the Minister can give permission to persons under the age of 18 to marry should also be repealed,” he said.

In a similar development, the country’s government has also agreed to start a school-feeding programme in the country’s areas that were worst hit by drought.

Zimbabwe’s cabinet has reportedly approved a $200m national School Feeding Scheme.

CCTV reports 3,000 pupils have dropped out of school by October last year due to hunger.

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