Marry or burn: Burundi goes all moral, but Muslims are not amused
Unmarried Burundians only have slightly more than a month to marry or face the law! The Burundi authorities has given couples who are not married officially until the end of the year to legalise their relationships through church or state registration. In May, President Pierre Nkurunziza signed a new law that the government says will help protect women and create a more moral society.
The government insists a legal document recognising a marriage helps protect women and their children, especially when it comes to issues such as inheritance. However, others say the new marriage law infringes on people’s religious beliefs, customs and practices. For instance, Burundi has many Muslims who will now only be allowed to register one wife. Islam allows men to marry up to four wives.
No paying for marriage in Zimbabwe, says lawyer
And in Zimbabwe, a woman has filed a case in court challenging the constitutionality of the practice of paying lobola (bride price), saying it reduces women to mere “assets” that are open for abuse. Alternatively, Priccilar Vengesai, a former Chitungwiza municipality chamber secretary, says couples should be allowed to live together as husband and wife without being compelled to pay bride price, or lobola should be paid to both families.
The lawyer contends that women’s rights to dignity, equality and non-discrimination were at stake and that the court should be quick to declare the customary practice unconstitutional.
Comrade Bob is not making a graceful exit
Still in Zimbabwe, Presi dent Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, could become the fourth woman president in Africa, if the Zanu-pf party gives her a green light in December. Her 93-year old husband has sacked vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa — who was in line for succession—to pave way for the 52-year-old Grace.
The expulsion of Mr Mnangagwa followed calls for the ruling Zanu-pf to change its structures to allow the appointment of a woman vice-president, who will be the second-in-command. President Mugabe had in the past insisted that he will not hand over power to his wife, but the First Lady at the weekend said there was nothing wrong with her taking over.