Fungai Lupande Mashonaland Central Bureau
An emotional Bindura woman has pleaded that Section 40 of the Marriages Bill, which focuses on civil partnerships, should not be removed because it protects women against the deceitful nature of some men.
This came up during a public hearing on the Bill that was organised by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice at Tendai Hall in Chipadze, Bindura last week.
Ms Ellah Longwe from Makwinji Street in Chipadze suburb, who could not contain her emotions and broke into tears during her contribution, said sub-section five of Section 40 must be elaborated and rephrased. She said some men were reluctant to formalise and legalise their relationships.
“Most men lie about their marital status,” said Ms Longwe.
“This Bill must protect women who would have invested in such partnerships.
“Some women spend 21 years in relationships that are not formalised.
“What do you want me to do? Sometimes its lack of money or men refuse to register the marriages. However, sub-section five of the section must be reinstated and rephrased.”
A man who only identified himself as Bwale said Section 40 did not define Zimbabweans as a people and would only serve to destroy the indigenous culture and values. “People must be customarily married,” he said. “Infidelity affects the country’s economic growth because it brings diseases that prevent people from being productive.”
Constance Mushayi raised concern over the legal age at which one should consent to marriage, which she said should be raised from 16 years to 18 years because this was fuelling child marriages.
Family of God pastor Ethias Mleya said chiefs should get proper training on how to preside over marital cases to avoid inconsistencies and mistakes.
The public hearing was also attended by the Women Coalition of Zimbabwe, Institute of Young Women Development and Chief Chikwaka.
Mashonaland Central is bedevilled by a high number of child marriage cases, which First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa has condemned.