BULAWAYO residents and church leaders yesterday called for the abandonment of Section 40 of the Marriages Act Amendment Bill, saying it is likely to influence unchaste behaviour, leading to a situation akin to biblical Sodom and Gomorrah.
BY SIBONGINKOSI MAPHOSA
This came at a meeting organised by a civic society group to unpack the proposed amendments to the Marriages Act section 40 in Bulawayo.
Participants said it was clear that the Bill was seeking to legalise adultery, which is immoral according to Zimbabwean culture and norms.
Kucaca Phulu, MDC legislator for Nkulumane constituency, helped unpack the Bill, which he described as legalising adultery in an indirect way.
The proposed section 40 of the Marriages Act states that one can enter into a civil partnership with any person of the opposite sex, who is above the age of 18, despite their being married under chapter 5:11.
In the Bill, civil partnerships are not defined as a marriage, although they are recognised by the court of law.
A partner now has a claim over the property belonging to a married couple. Pastors from different church denominations opposed the Bill outright.
Pastor Mzizi from the Jabula New Life Covenant Church described the Bill as an instrument to fuel adultery.
“This proposal to me seems to be pushing the country into a devil’s pit and honestly, we are going to be a Sodom and Gomorrah mentioned in the Bible,” he said.
Residents described the proposals in the Bill as nonsensical and likely to wreck families.
A woman, who identified herself as MaNxumalo, said a nation can only be built on strong family institutions and destroying them was akin to tearing the very fabric holding the nation together.
“This civil partnership, if allowed to be made law, will lead to serious problems. We will lose the spirit of ubuntu. Remember, nations are built on strong family institutions. If we destroy family values, what kind of a nation are we building?” she asked.
The meeting was meant to prepare residents for the forthcoming nationwide consultative meetings to gather people’s views on the Bill, before it is passed into law.