Former Minister says let’s get rid of polygamous marriages

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Members, let us have less noise.

HON. MPARIWA: I think male Hon. Members who were making noise are now paying attention.  I agree with Hon. Gonese where he said that if a couple has Chapter 5:11 of the Marriages Act, they will have rights.  If we have under-aged children getting married, they cannot stand up for themselves and demand for a Chapter 5:11 marriages because they do not know what that means.  They do not know the different types of marriages that are there –

Hon. Maridadi having been speaking to another Hon. Member.

HE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Maridadi, that is the second time now.

HON. MPARIWA: Hon. Speaker, the issue here is that, if we have laws that prohibit children from getting married, it will help them to go back to school and be taken care of as children.  We have Chapter 5.06 of the Children’s Act, which provides for the issues to do with children.  However, without the provisions of under-aged children, I think there is a gap there.  If there is no law, we will not complete anything and everyone will do whatever they want because there is nothing stopping people from doing what they want.

I want to say to Hon. Members, just imagine if it is your child who is 12 or 14 years of age and gets married to someone who is 60 years old or even 49 years.  If a child is growing up in our homes, we look forward to something good coming out of her.  It is very frightening to note that you are not sure of what will happen to your child and you might wake up one morning and find out that she is getting married.  I have heard that children are visiting brothels and are being abused there.  These children are not yet physically fit to get pregnant because they are still very young.

Hon. Speaker, if you look at the age of majority, it is 18 years and if a child has not yet reached that age, parents are supposed to take care of those children.  The children whom we are referring to in this House are our children.  We will be very happy if we find ourselves on the right side with the SADC regulations concerning children.  The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs once attended one of our seminars where he was talking about children who get married at a tender age.  As women’s caucus, we have talked about these issues for a number of times.  What is good about it is that there are some Members of Parliament in this House who agree with this and also support it.

If we want to move forward as a nation in terms of development – this motion is emanating from the SADC theme, which we once chaired and also has seats there.  I think we should be found to be on the right side all the time so that we enact laws that prohibit young children from getting married.  With these few words Mr. Speaker, I am appealing to this House, that we should embrace this motion because if we do not, we embarrass Hon. Members when they go back to SADC.  Thank you Hon. Speaker.

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