Zimbabwe: Educate Girl Child to End Early Marriages, Says MP

20 February 2020

Society should educate and empower girls and women as a long-term solution to the problem of child marriages.

This was said by Uzumba legislator Cde Simbaneuta Mudarikwa while contributing on the Marriages Bill in the National Assembly this week.

"The major issue that is causing child marriages is poverty within our communities which mostly affects women and girls," Cde Mudarikwa said.

"Government should have deliberate programmes that target girls so that they are not enticed into early marriages.

"Studies have shown that empowered women are central to the stability of families, so Government should empower women through the Budget to ensure stable families and aid the prevention of child marriages."

Matabeleland North representative Dr Ruth Labode said Government should repeal the provision criminalising wilful transmission of HIV, saying it could lead to stigma and reduce efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

"Women are at risk of being arrested because when they get pregnant they get tested and are likely to be the first ones to know of their status before their partners do," she said. "This increases the likelihood of them being accused of transmitting the virus."

Dr Labode said HIV positive people were unlikely to disclose their status if the law was passed, for fear of being accused of wilfully transmitting the disease.

Mutare Central representative Mr Innocent Gonese said the Bill did not adequately address gender equality issues and property rights within marriages.

Debate on the Bill continues.

Meanwhile, Parliament has observed a minute of silence in honour of Professor John Kurewa, the first black Clerk of Parliament and founding Vice Chancellor of Africa University.

Prof Kurewa (87) succumbed to prostate cancer last Friday.

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