BY KUDAKWASHE TAGWIREYI/METHEMBE SIBANDA
CHILD rights teams have welcomed the Marriages Invoice, which was handed in Parliament final week, saying it’s going to curb the scourge of kid marriages within the nation.
The Invoice was handed on Tuesday final week.
It was initially handed within the Nationwide Meeting in 2020 however was held up in Senate after conventional leaders objected to a clause that mentioned fee or non-payment of a bride value couldn’t be considered a barrier in solemnising marriage between two consenting adults in the event that they happy the necessities of the legislation.
The brand new amendments permit marriage officers, who embrace conventional leaders, to solemnise customary marriages and to permit events to marry even when lobola shouldn’t be paid.
Lately, the Zimbabwe Nationwide Statistics Company (Zimstat) revealed that 33,7% of women beneath the age of 18 within the nation have been married, and compared, 2% of boys turn into family leaders earlier than the age of 18. Zimbabwe is among the many 20 African nations the place little one marriages are prevalent.
Little one marriages are extra prevalent in Mashonaland the place 52,1% of women get married earlier than the age of 18, whereas Bulawayo has the bottom prevalence fee of 10,9%.
Girls in Legislation in Southern Africa director Fadzai Traquino mentioned the federal government now must decentralise the justice supply system to completely implement the legislation.
“They’re additionally points to do with impunity, as an illustration entry to justice.
“Our justice supply system shouldn’t be but totally decentralised to cope with sexual offences.
“Prosecution solely occurs at regional courts and never all cities in our nation host these regional courts or the Excessive Courtroom as an illustration.
“We’ve got been advocating decentralising the court docket system and this requires assets to the judicial providers techniques as they’re vital stakeholders in coping with sexual offences,” Traquino mentioned.
She additionally urged the federal government to cope with inconsistencies in sentencing of offenders.
“There was loads of advocacy round necessary sentencing. We have to put a powerful message round sexual abuse, as a result of loads of little one pregnancies and abuses emanate from gender based mostly violence.
“If now we have robust necessary sentencing, say a minimal of at the least 25 years, it’s going to ship a powerful message for individuals to steer clear of sexually abusing younger youngsters,” she mentioned.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Well being, Ruth Labode mentioned even when the Invoice is signed into legislation, there was want for enforcement to make sure that sexually energetic youngsters get entry to contraceptives.
“As MPs we visited Rwanda and discovered that if a lady lower than 18 years will get pregnant they are often allowed to go for abortion in session with their dad and mom in the event that they don’t want the being pregnant.
“We all know that some 12-year olds are already partaking in sexual actions and people have to be given alternatives to entry contraceptives,” Labode mentioned. “If a baby can not entry contraceptives as a result of she is younger, she’s going to get pregnant and positively marriage would be the subsequent possibility.”