Chiefs block marriages Bill progress again

Chiefs block marriages Bill progress again
Chiefs block marriages Bill progress again

Chiefs block marriages Bill progress again

Chiefs in the Senate have rejected Justice Minister’s moves to make progress on the Marriages Bill, arguing that the lobola issue must be solved first.

The senators mostly chiefs want lobola to be made mandatory for marriages in line with African tradition.

However, Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi is against the idea. He argues that it goes against international instruments that the country signed to.

Ziyambi also contends that making lobola mandatory reduces women from being adults.

This logjam has seen chiefs digging in on their positions.

Speaking in the senate during debate, the minister said prolonging the Bill will be a neglect of duties by the legislators.

‘’The last time we had issues that the Senate wanted to be considered in terms of the way customary marriages are registered and the role of our traditional leaders. We have not yet reached an agreement.

‘’My suggestion is that I have the Traditional Leaders Act that is coming through and issues that we have not dealt with and managed to find each other, we can include them in the Traditional Leaders Act, then I can amend the Marriages Bill through the Traditional Leaders Act.

‘’The reason why I am proposing that we proceed, is because there are issues in the Marriages Bill that deal with child marriages that we need to deal with. The more we prolong, it means that as legislators we would have neglected our duty to deal with those issues.

‘’My appeal to Honourable Senators is that the issues that you raised were well received but we have another Bill that we can use to amend the Marriages Act and effect the concerns that you are raising. I so submit Madam Chair,’’ he said.

Chiefs still consulting on lobola requirement

Responding to the Minister’s submission, Chief Makumbe (real name Shepherd Chengeta Gundu) said the chiefs are still consulting on the matter and cannot debate it.

‘’I need some clarification on this issue. While we can debate as a House, I think it is prudent that our constituency which had the bulk of problems with this Bill should have been informed and be here so that they can fully participate in this Bill because it has got a lot to do with the traditional leadership portfolio.

‘’We are having a workshop on Tuesday next week, specifically to deal with this Bill with government lawyers and women lawyers organisations. I do not know how we can discuss while we still need to polish up as a caucus of chiefs.

‘’I do not know how we can proceed with this one because we are supposed to meet on Tuesday to iron out certain pertinent issues to us as chiefs. If we are going to sit and go over it, it will be unfortunate for this constituency.

‘’I personally think that we have got a lot to submit as we are the custodians of culture and we stay with people in the communities,’’ he said.

Chiefs block marriages Bill progress again

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