Published On: Tue, Jan 10th, 2017

Church rolls out anti-child marriages campaign

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Lizwe Sebatha

ZIMBABWE’s clergy have rolled out an anti-child marriages awareness programme, holding road shows and distributing literature on the practice that the Constitutional Court ruled illegal.

The clergy under the umbrella term, Christian Voice International-Zimbabwe (CVI-Z), said the Church frowned against child marriages, with First Lady, Grace Mugabe saying offenders should be castrated.

“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 (white garment churches) at the end of the day we must speak one language,” CVI-Z director, Tapfumaneyi Clement Zenda said.

In January last year, the Constitution Court ruled that section 22(1) of the Marriage Act that permitted children under the age of 18 to marry violated the Constitution.

The ruling followed an application by two Harare women seeking to challenge the Customary Marriages Act, arguing the said Act was infringing on the constitutional rights of young girls and boys who were getting married at an early stage.

According to the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef), in Sub-Saharan Africa, 41% of girls are getting married before the age of 18 years, while in Zimbabwe, one in three girls are married before the age of 18.

Zenda added: “We shall come down to your province and districts with the anti-Child Marriage programs the theme is (All Stakeholders meetings on Child Marriages) we hope to bring together all stakeholders such as the police, schools, legal practitioners, traditional chiefs, media, civil society 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.”