Marriages Bill back on Senate’s Order Paper again

Marriages Bill back on Senate’s Order Paper again
Marriages Bill back on Senate’s Order Paper again

Marriages Bill back on Senate’s Order Paper again

The Marriages Bill which seeks among other things to consolidate marriages laws in the country (Customary Marriages Act [Chapter 5:07] and Marriage Act [Chapter 5:11]) has been restored to the Senate Order Paper.

Marriages Bill was brought to Parliament in July of 2019 and has lapsed a record three times due to disagreements.

The first disagreements were on the issue of civil partners which caused an uproar in the country.

There was also the issue of making chiefs and traditional leaders marriage officers.

Currently, the Bill is stuck because of the issue of lobola.

Chiefs want lobola to be made mandatory if one is to wed.

However, the Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi is rejecting the move, arguing that it goes against international instruments that the country is a signatory to.

Ziyambi also says making lobola mandatory reduces women into minors who cannot make decisions concerning their lives.

Speaking in the Senate, Ziyambi said ‘’Mr President Sir, I move that the following Bills, which were superseded by the end of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament be restored on the Order Paper at the stages that they had reached; Marriages Bill [H. B. 7A, 2019] and Pensions and Provident Funds Amendment Bill [H. B. 17A. 2019].

‘’I so submit Mr President Sir,’’ he said.

Why Marriages Bill has delayed

The last time the Marriages Bill was up for debate in the Senate, the Chiefs refused to debate it, arguing that they were still consulting with their lawyers.

This resulted in Ziyambi, washing his hands on the issue, arguing that he will not take the blame for delaying the Bill.

Despite the delays it has faced, the Marriages Bill is seen as an urgent matter as it has clauses and sections that will help curb issues of child marriages.

Child marriages appear to be on the rise since the country went into lockdown last, with about 5 000 underage girls having fallen pregnant in a space of a month. It will, however, remain to be seen if the Minister will be able to push the chiefs this time round on the lobola issue.

Marriages Bill back on Senate’s Order Paper again