Breaking: Zimbabwe outlaws child marriages

In this file picture, a child runs past an anti-child marriages poster at Case Farm in Shamva where an anti-child marriages NGO, ROOTS, was holding a community dialogue to raise awareness on the dangers child marriages. The Constitutional Court on Wednesday outlawed child marriage and struck off the statutes section 22(1) of the Marriage Act which for decades had allowed children under the age of 18 years to get into marriage.

The Constitutional Court has with immediate effect outlawed child marriage and struck off the statutes section 22(1) of the Marriage Act ,which for decades, had allowed children under the age of 18 years to get into marriage.

The full Constitutional Court bench said section 22(1) of the Marriage Act was inconsistent with section 78(1) of the Constitution which sets 18 years as the minimum age of marriage in Zimbabwe.



The ruling by the ConCourt followed an application by two Harare women, Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi, who approached the court, through their lawyer Tendai Biti, seeking to challenge the Customary Marriages Act, arguing the said Act was infringing on the constitutional rights of young girls and boys who were getting married at an early stage.


  1. It’s a breakthrough on paper but does change much in reality. As long as sex under 18 years is still happening and not outlawed, this does not help the affected, especially girls. Marriage yaitozombobatsira kuti the players (men) would be pushed to have a responsibility. Now they can “play and leave it”. On radio yesterday was the story of a 15 year old who beat up her mother for reporting that she had had sex with a 22 year old boyfriend in a tuck-shop. What we need is not a change in laws but a change in the moral fiber of the people. We grew up in morally sound societies and it was rare to hear about child marriages, except among some apostolic sects. But now with all the rights accorded to children, you harp and scream about a simple law that does not change anything. Yet the children themselves want to get married so that they can “do it freely”. We are going nowhere very fast!

    • How will making sex outlawed change anything. people need to be more open to communicate with their children about it because when you don’t that when youngsters end up making naive decision as they do things in secret then all the consequences follow. One of which is early marriage due to pregnancy among other things

  2. This is victory nevertheless. Sex and marriage are two different things. Yes, sex should only be enjoyed by married people and yet children are doing it. That calls for moral , culture shift. The law becomes the starting point… society should find, shame and address this anomaly of underage marriages.

  3. ko kungoisa mutemo wekuti ndikatemerwa mwana wangu aripasi pe18 years zvinoramba here. You mean police cannot enforce such a law. Wether anenge abvuma hazvina basa the fact that she is under 18 years of age is good enough reason to make it a crime.

  4. The flip side of the judgment is that there will be unintended consequences. The judgement does not outlaw sex, hence children under the age of 18 can have premarital sex as long they are not in a marriage. Even abortions for girls who are under 18 now have to be legal because they cannot enter into marriage. By the age of 18 most girls are sexually active and sexually knowledgeable. A 17 year old boy does not have to marry a 17 year girl he impregnates because this is now unlawful. Abortion is the only recourse where such pregnancy occurs.

    Hameno. Its human rights in motion yet there are unintended results.

  5. as Phyllis replied I am in shock that any body able to make $4140 in a few weeks on the internet . try this website..

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