Home Editors' Pick Midlands in renewed call to end early marriages

Midlands in renewed call to end early marriages

by commuadmin

CommuTalk Reporter

GWERU: Gender activists have called on government institutions to expedite the implementation of measures aimed at ending child rape disguised as early marriage, which has become rampant in society especially during the COVID-19 era.

COVID-19 induced lockdowns saw school children spending most of their time at home and that has coincided with an unprecedented rise in early marriages countrywide.

Some gender activists who gathered in Gweru recently for the National Gender Forum gave testimonies of the challenges they have been facing as a result of the upsurge in early marriages.

“What we have been facing in this lockdown has been really disturbing. The rate at which we have been dealing with child marriages has been scary of late. We have seen it fit to move around communities educating people on issues to do with child marriages.

“Some cases are tricky as they involve relatives and they always try to come with cover-ups. We need to stand up and stop this scourge that is threatening our social fabric,” Agnes Muuya said.

“In previous years we had managed to nip the problem of child marriages in the bug. We are very disturbed that the problem has since resurfaced in our communities. We have romped in the village heads to deal with the problems. We sometimes fine perpetrators but this is not enough. We want the government to come up with more deterrent measures to deal with such issues,” Chief Mkoba added.

The government says it will continue to come up with more measures aimed at protecting the girl child.

“Addressing child marriage is central to the work of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission as it is one of the systemic barriers prejudicial to the achievement of gender equality in Zimbabwe.

“Child Marriage impedes the full enjoyment of rights, it limits girls from accessing educational and economic opportunities that could lift them and their families out of poverty. Further child marriage exposes brides and their newborn babies to high health and death risks due to physiological immaturity,” Commissioner Magret Makahanana- Sangarwe further said.

The event witnessed stakeholders joining hands to sign a pact promising to take measures to end child marriages.

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