By Staff Reporter
HARARE – The Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) has called on Parliament of Zimbabwe to urgently consider the Marriages Bill and pass into law to ensure the immediate protection of young girls in the wake of the death of 15 year old Anna Machaya in Bocha, Marange recently.
Speaking to journalists in Harare yesterday, ZYC board chair Chiedza Juru said her organisation will create platforms that will work with communities to curb the scourge child marriages.
“We can on the Parliament of Zimbabwe to pass the Marriages Bill, 2019 into law as a matter of urgency to align marriage laws to Sections 78 and 81 of the Constitution which states that anyone below the age of 18 years is a child and that marriage with children below the ages of 18 is prohibited,” said Juru.
The Marriage Bill has suffered major setbacks after reaching a gridlock in Parliament as differences emerged on Clause 16 which provides that payment or non-payment of a bride price could not be regarded as a barrier in solemnizing marriage between two consenting adults if they satisfied other requirements of the law.
“We will create more platforms for educating all citizens, especially children and those living in communities afflicted by child marriages on the rights of children expressed in our Constitution and the Convention on the Rights of the Child to ensure that we prevent child marriages from taking place.
“Through the Junior Parliamentarian program, we will work with the elected parliamentarians from the 210 constituencies to educate children in their communities. We will continue to advocate for laws, policies and programmes that protect our girls and empower their communities,” said Juru
She said the organisation will lobby legislators to improve laws and ensure compulsory penalties for perpetrators.
“We will lobby lawmakers to consider amending laws to ensure a minimum mandatory sentence for perpetrators of child abuse.
The ZYC will use the 29th Junior Parliamentary official opening platform to take these issues to parliament for debate and action. It takes a village to raise a child. We all have a responsibility to protect, educate and empower our girls ensuring they grow in healthy environment where they can achieve their full potential,” she said.
By Staff Reporter