REUTERS reports Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court has outlawed child marriage. It ruled that “as of January 20 no one in Zimbabwe may enter into any marriage, including customary law unions, before the age of 18, and struck down a section of the Marriage Act which allows girls to marry at 16 but boys at 18,”.
Perhaps you’re among the population that fancy being married to babies. Strike off Zimbabwe from the list of the nations that’ll permit your child marriage intent. You can’t get your bride, or groom from the country, you can as well flee from Zimbabwe if your mission there is to marry a child.
According to the report, Zimbabwean girls are deprived of education, exposed to sexual violence and the risk of death during childbirth due to the fact that four percent of the girls marry before they are 15 whereas almost a third of them marry before they turn 18.
However, it was the event of two former child brides who took the government to court, challenging the baby marriage practice in the country that turned around the nation’s legislation on the issue. The two former child brides identified as Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi reportedly demanded that child marriage be declared illegal and unconstitutional arguing that is not different from child abuse which in addition, cages girls to live a life of poverty and suffering.
Mudzuru who was married at 16 and had two children before she was 18, described in her affidavit that child marriage and poverty are interwoven. She explained that “young girls who marry early and often in poor families are then forced to produce young children in a sea of poverty and the cycle begins again.”
She had previously described her life as “hell” stating that “raising a child when you are a child yourself is hard…I should be going to school.” With the new legislation however, she said; “”I really am happy that we have played an instrumental part in making Zimbabwe a safe place for girls.”
Also, Beatrice Savadye, the head of rights group ROOTS which supported the legal challenge added that she’s delighted as the achievement “is a milestone in the campaign to end this scourge in society”. She nonetheless called for harsh penalties for anyone convicted of marrying a minor and as well outlined that more needed to be done in terms of educating communities on the dangers of child marriage particularly in such remote areas where the practice is
While the report related that about 15 million girls are married every year globally, it indicated that two in five girls wed as children across sub-Saharan Africa.
Poverty is said to be the driving force behind child marriage in Zimbabwe as parents usually marry off young girls so as to feed fewer children and as well pocket the dowry to be paid.