By Portia Sigauke
Legislators across political divide say there are ready to amend the controversial Marriage Act Bill that had conflicting legal provisions on the minimum age for marriage.
This follows the ruling that was made on the 20th of January by Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba that children under the age of 18 years can’t enter into a valid marriage. MDC-T legislator for Harare West Honourable Jessie Majome welcomed the development citing they are ready to amend the bill which was full of confusion.
“As law maker l am ready and this is a welcome development that will bear fruitful results especially for our young girls who were forced into early marriage for whatever reason.”
“I am really happy and l cannot wait to be back in Parliament to amend the Bill and l hope there will be no delays, “she said.
Majome said amending the Bill was the number one priority when Parliament opens this year.
ZANU PF Harare North MP Tongesai Mudambo said the clarification of the Marriage Act was long overdue and that parliamentarians and the government had no reason to delay amending the bill.
“As a father with a girl child l cannot wait to see the Marriage Act being amended in Parliament, this could help us fight the scourge of early child marriages in our society. Young children, especially girls, were the worst affected and they were robbed of the future being married at a young age before they could even decide what they wanted to be in life,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s Constitution did not expressly prohibit child marriage, and a number of laws effectively condoned it. Now that the Constitutional Court has outlawed under 18 year-old marriages the onus is on Parliament to quickly amend the bill and pass it into law – a move that will solidify the fight against early child marriages.