CHIEF Gladmore Kangora Rusambo has called on children’s rights defenders to report cases of early marriages to curb the vice which is on the rise in Rushinga, Mt Darwin.
Chief Rusambo expressed concern over the marked increase in school dropouts fuelled by child marriages in his area.
BY NHAU MANGIRAZI IN RUSHINGA
“As leadership we are not alerted when children drop out of school to either marry or get married,” he said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
His comments came after health officials in Mashonaland Central province bemoaned the spike in child marriages and sexually transmitted infections among the youth.
Chimhanda business centre that falls within Chief Rusambo’s jurisdiction is one of the hotspots as well as Mazowe Bridge, where artisanal miners engage in unprotected sex with pupils.
National Aids Council district co-ordinator Eric Taramusi said youths affected by socio-economic challenges are sometimes forced into marriages by parents and guardians.
“Some of the girls are vulnerable and are forced into early marriages. It is a cause for concern as our communities have not been doing enough to assist in ending child marriages around Rushinga. In 2017 we had 900 school dropouts and it’s an alarming figure. Our traditional leadership have no sound policies to help us address these challenges,” he said.
However, Chief Rusambo refuted that they are neglecting the girl child who is a victim of child marriages. He revealed that he had not officially received any tip-offs on forced child marriages.
“If we get these cases, they must be reported to police for appropriate action. It is unfortunate that we are getting this from you as media while stakeholders have not engaged us for any input for a holistic approach. We are concerned as well and we want to work closely to help the girl child against early marriages,” he said.
However some villagers blamed traditional leadership for the spiraling cases of child marriages saying they turn a blind eye to the vice.
“Every society has its limitations and our traditional leadership has failed us as they have never done anything positive to curb child marriages. Their silence is aiding these marriages,” said a businessman at Chimhanda business centre.