RELIGIOUS leaders under the umbrella body, Christian Voice International-Zimbabwe (CVI-Z), have embarked on an anti-child marriages campaign, targeting mostly girls.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
CVI-Z director, Tapfumaneyi Clement Zenda said the programme will see the church partnering with different stakeholders such as the police in educating the girl child on the ills of child marriages.
“We shall come down to your province and districts with the anti-child marriage programmes, we hope to bring together all stakeholders such as the police, schools, legal practitioners, traditional chiefs, media, civil society, Vapostori and others that have to do with children in society and come up with stronger teams to partner with the church to vigorously campaign against such practices.
“We aim to bring anti-child marriage information right to the doorstep of every girl child, teenager or youth, We also want to strategically and tactfully involve and penetrate Vapostori at the end of the day we must speak one language,” he said.
The Customary Marriages Act has no minimum age for marriage, while the Marriages Act, which governs monogamous marriages, states girls under 16 cannot marry without the written consent of a Justice minister.
In January, the Constitutional Court ruled that section 22(1) of the Marriage Act that permitted children under the age of 18 to marry violated the Constitution.
Zenda said the nationwide programme will also involve road shows, school visits among others, while literature on anti-child marriages will also be compiled for distribution.
“Youth-friendly desks must be established in our churches, select one of your elders or deacons to freely interact with young people notably on this issue, encourage them to open up on such challenges, eventually the leader must be in one of the committees or working closely with child protection committee in your area, the pulpit must be used as a platform to speak against child marriages.
“We welcome ministers of Christ, who are competitive in literature production, to begin putting together information that shall be published on child marriages in Zimbabwe, the literature shall be approved by the ministry of education and deemed fit to be distributed,” he said.