Arrest for U-18s lobola receivers

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa (right) discusses a point with Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere while other ministers follow proceedings in the House of Assembly yesterday. — (Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa (right) discusses a point with Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere while other ministers follow proceedings in the House of Assembly yesterday. — (Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Government is coming up with a cocktail of laws, among them making it an offence for parents and guardians who accept lobola for children below the age of 18 as it steps up efforts to clamp down on under-age marriages, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa told Parliament yesterday.

VP Mnangagwa, who is leader of Government business in the House and overseer of Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, said several laws that needed to be amended had been identified. He said Government was not waiting for a Constitutional Court ruling outlawing child marriages in order to act, but had already identified several pieces of legislation that ought to be aligned with the Constitution.

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He was responding to a motion moved by Proportionate Representative MP Ms Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga on the need to amend several child-related laws to protect children below the age of 18 from entering into marriages.

“The Act should also make it an offence for a guardian or other person to enter into a lobola agreement or other customary marriage arrangement or ceremony in respect of a person under the age of 18,” said VP Mnangagwa.

He said Section 20 of Marriage Act providing for solemnisation of marriage of a minor with the consent of the guardian or of the High Court would be repealed.

VP Mnangagwa said Section 22 of the same law, providing that no boy under the age of 18 and no girl under the age of 16 shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage except with written permission of the Minister would be amended.

“This subsection should be amended to provide that no person under the age of 18 years shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage. Subsection (2) and (3) which envisages that the Minister can give permission to persons under the age of 18 to marry should also be repealed,” said VP Mnangagwa.

He said Customary Marriage Act, which was silent as to the age of marriage, would be amended by insertion of a provision that no person under the age of 18 years shall be capable of contracting a marriage.

VP Mnangagwa said Section 70 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act, which criminalised extra-marital sex with a young person, would be amended to remove the reference to extra-marital sex so as to make it an offence in all cases to have sexual relationship with a young person. He said Government would consult on the age of consent as the judgment did not require the legislature to take any action on that since it observed that pregnancies below the age of 18 years were a social issue.

“Despite the fact that we have identified the sections that need to be amended, it would be noble to conduct consultations to analyse the consequences these amendments would make on children who are already part of child marriages,” he said.

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  • karikoga phiri

    the arrests must start from the churches

  • sambiri

    Clampdown on corruption and suffering that is causing those nothing to eat people to accept lobola anyhow.

  • Matsimba

    The age of consent, according to Priscilla and her proteges, is obviously 18. Any variation to that will naturally create a conflict with the law feminists are fervently advocating here. The law is being used to solve social issues and that has proven to be a challenge in other jurisdictions, and certainly will not work in Zimbabwe. How do you stop early marriages without stopping the acts courtship and intimacy of people below the age of 18? So the law should just state that NO SEX UNTIL 18. So virginity tests should also be allowed because feminists are inadvertently saying teenagers should not have sex. However, they froth at the mouth arguing against virginity tests despite the fact that it’s part of African culture, and certainly not for the pleasure of men, but to safeguard the dignity of women and perpetuating the sanctity of marriage. In conclusion therefore, feminists are dangerous creatures and their proposals are driven by their personal issues, including anger, the idea of getting even with men, and in some instances mischief of creating a nation of whores, where no sane male shall never find a normal female to marry. Why would someone bother to marry, when there is absolutely no difference between a woman in the street and the one in the kitchen (bride)? Why would one labour on an orchard, when surrounded by forests of fruit trees? So it is the institution of marriage they are attacking here, ironically by projecting the notion of protecting the girl child. Protecting the girl child from what? from marriage? and then becoming what? whores? Is that an argument of grown up women in parliament?

    • Norest

      Archaic mind!!!!

    • nyakureva

      I salute you for your comments fellow citizen.For feminists to gain relevance they were mainly supported by gays and lesbians. Some of these laws that have already been adopted in the country do not suit the geopolitical environment. Zimbabwe is quick to comment on socio- what what issues yet the same people undermine the relevance social sciences?? Ndiko ka kune dzidziso yamunokurumbidza kumedza(Ethics, Philosophy, Sociology and so on) Ma rights ndiwo aunza kuparara kwe dignity ye Africa(The so called rights{equal rights have led to the destruction of Africa as a whole})

  • Tarubva

    When is the VP, as “leader of government business in the house” going to explain what happened to the $15 b in potential revenue from Marange?

  • Fred Muchena

    ……………….Meanwhile, $15 billion diamond revenue goes missing and remains unaccounted for.

  • Seducer

    Shallow mind, so those who are positive cannot marry?

    • Hlahla Hamburamatope

      Let them marry those who are also positive

    • Hlahla Hamburamatope

      Yes you can marry, also positive one not a Virgin

    • Hlahla Hamburamatope

      You can marry there are so many windowed and 47 % at UZ etc

  • Emru Kunanti

    How did you arrive at this figure of 18?? Why not 21 or 17? Why 18 specifically?

  • Mike

    Without supporting child marriages at all..The Gorvenment is being reactive, the natural law, is that if a minor is to contract, the Parent/Guardian can sign on their behalf. This is the law that is universal. So now, the elders at law, will not have broken the law if they attest that a child can be married, but will have broken the no under 18 marriage law(yet to be garzetted and passed through parliament)…that is the only law that can be used here, otherwise, how are they going to prove that lobola was paid/received, the same minor will have to make a complaint to the authorities and have the burden of proof that gifts/money changed hands.

    In case case, lobola starts with the consent of two people, who then bring the families to witness/attest etc, so in actual effect, what we are saying here, you can do all acts that only those over 18 can do, but no marriage, until you are over 18..

    We also have to factor the fact that not all children under 18 cannot make reasonable and informed decisions.