BY CATHERINE MUCHIRI
Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira has demanded more action on child marriages, while urging government and stakeholders to educate the nation about the Marriages Act which outlaws child marriages, among other provisions.
Speaking during a workshop to unpack the Marriages Act (Chapter 5:15) organised by the Women’s Affairs ministry in the capital yesterday, Chirumbira said: “We need an action plan programme that will run for two years, designed in all languages so that we can reach all the communities in the country.”
“Education systems should also ensure the young people themselves are involved. This will be after we hold brainstorming sessions to find out the root causes of these child marriages.”
He added: “We should not run away from the real issues causing these child marriages, but unpack them and come up with solutions that will be shared across all platforms and sections of the society.”
The Act, passed into law last month, introduces a civil partnership and a qualified civil marriage and recognises an unregistered customary law union as a marriage.
Under the Act, facilitating marriages of children below 18 years is now a criminal offence.
Women’s Affairs minister Sithembiso Nyoni said: “We should continue to disapprove and campaign against child marriages. There is need to have indabas and look at the key issues causing child marriages and how we are going to end these marriages now that the law supports us.”
Musasa Project programmes officer Tinashe Chitunhu said young girls forced into child marriages were victims of gender-based violence.
“With the new law, it is a new dawn for us. However, we appeal to the government to expedite issues of operationalising the Marriages Bill and its various amendments so that we can start the business of protecting our young girls,” Chitunhu said.
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