HomeMembers of ParliamentChild Marriages: Momberume was not married to Anna Machaya

Child Marriages: Momberume was not married to Anna Machaya

Child Marriages: Momberume was not married to Anna Machaya

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has told Parliament that Hatirarami Momberume was not married to Anna Machaya because there was no marriage certificate.

Under current Zimbabwean laws, only registered marriages are recognized.

The country has two marriage laws, the Customary Marriages Act [Chapter 5:07] and the Marriage Act [Chapter 5:11].

Currently, Parliament is in the process of coming up with a consolidated marriages law which when passed will replace the two laws and will also align with the Constitution.

Answering questions in the National Assembly on the issue of Anna Machaya who died after giving birth at a Marange Sect shrine, Ziyambi said the Momberume and Machaya were just cohabiting.

‘’In the case of issues at hand, it is not about marriage per se because marriages are outlawed.  That Marange man does not have a marriage certificate, he is not married to the girl, but they cohabit. 

‘’What we want to do, which I agree with Honourable Innocent Gonese is it is not about criminalising but also engaging our communities so that our communities will appreciate that certain practices are now out of date which is what the Ministry of Women’s Affairs is saying that they are going to do.

‘’I believe that we can then look at our Criminal Code and see how we can tighten it but we must also engage our communities so that some of the harmful practices that we do, we do away with them,’’ he said. 

Child marriages were outlawed in 2016

Child marriages were outlawed in 2016 by the court in the case of Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi versus the Minister of Justice.

However, there have been delays in the panel beating the laws to reflect that judgement.

This has seen cases of child marriages rising to the extent that between January and February this year, about 5000 girls entered marriages before turning 18 years.

Efforts to bar child marriages through the law have been delayed by Chief in the Senate who want lobola to be deemed conditional for one to wed.

The chiefs have been digging in for several months and the minister of justice is also refusing to concede defeat in the matter.

Justice Minister is of the view that the country cannot make lobola mandatory arguing that it goes against international instruments that the country has signed to.

He said making lobola mandatory will be translated to mean that women are minors and cannot make their decisions. Besides child marriages, Zimbabwe is also struggling with the issue of the age of consent to sex. There is also the issue of consent to accessing sexual reproductive health services.

Child Marriages: Momberume was not married to Anna Machaya

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