24 December 2018

Zambia: Chiefs Want Lungu to Lobby AU Over Early Marriage Fight

FOUR Traditional leaders on ending Early Child Marriages and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) have asked President Lungu to lobby the African Union (AU) and partners to scale up resources for the implementation of African Traditional Leaders' action plan to address the vices.

The four chiefs led by Chief Chamuka VI in the company of Chief Chikwanda, Chief Madzimawe and Chieftainess Muweza and recently returned from Malawi and Nigeria on consultative and dialogue meetings

said during a briefing at State House recently that more resources were needed in order to tackle child marriages, FGM and promote gender equality at country, regional and continental levels.

" We recommend that the President who is also the African Union (AU) Chairperson On Ending Child Marriages in Africa should lobby the AU

and partners to scale up resources in support of the implementation of African Traditional Leaders' action plan to address child marriages

and gender equality at all levels," they said.

Other recommendations made to the President is to engage the movie industry through the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to

create documentaries on ending child marriages and FGM in Africa to raise awareness.

The Royal Highnesses further asked President Lungu for alternative measures for increased educational support to girls retrieved from

early marriages in rural areas in order to leave no girl child behind because of them become vulnerable after going back to their parents.

The cry on harmonisation of customary laws on customary marriages and child protection so as to align them to statutory laws and ensure that

all chiefdoms have community led By laws said his ministers would come up with best strategies on the matter.

And in response, the President said it was sad that girl children were still being forced into early marriages by their parents at the

expense of denying them the potential of being future leaders and empower them economically.

"The challenge we still have is poverty levels especially in rural areas, some traditional leaders still tend to think that marrying off

girls early will bring money in the family but they are forgetting that they are actually denying them chances of bettering their lives

after withdrawing them from school," He said.

The President said although early child marriages were still being recorded, Zambia was among those doing well because it had put in

place correct measures which if continued would see Zambia recording zero percentage of the vice.

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