Chief Makoni forces school kids to marry
CONTROVERSIAL Chief Makoni, Mr Colgen Simbayi Gwasira, is an eye of a storm again after forcing a 17-year-old teenager to pay bride price and marry a girl he had impregnated recently.
The girl is also aged 17.
The teenagers were classmates at a school in Chiendambuya in Makoni North. However, the teenager refused responsibility of the pregnancy, prompting the girl’s father to approach Chief Makoni’s court for redress.
The girl’s father demanded three beasts, three goats and $1 000 cash as bride price for his daughter.
The teenager and his father defaulted Chief Makoni’s court on June 27, claiming that they were not served with any summons.
Chief Makoni proceeded to preside over the matter and gave a default judgement in favour of the girl’s father.
In his ruling, Chief Makoni, said the teen- ager through his father should pay three beasts, three goats, $1 000 ‘rusambo’ and $100 as court fees. He also ordered them to go for DNA tests.
The teenager’s father has since approached the Rusape Magistrates’ Courts appealing against Chief Makoni’s ruling.
The teenager’s father who is represented by Mr Taurai Khupe of Khupe Law Chambers in his submissions argued that Chief Makoni’s ruling ultra vies the Constitution of Zimbabwe which outlaws child marriage.
“It is humbly submitted that the lower court erred in charging lobola for a minor child in contravention of the country’s Constitution which outlaws such marriages. The girl who is the subject matter in issue is also a minor, hence cannot be married off.
“Even assuming the he (the father) was party to the proceedings, which is denied any way, it is submitted that lobola is not a legal requirement and there is never a time when the two parties (families) set down and agreed to a lobola settlement,” argued Mr Khupe.
Mr Khupe also attached the Constitutional Court ruling of January 20, 2016 which outlawed child marriage.
Part of the Constitutional Court ruling reads: “A girl does not become an adult and therefore eligible for marriage because she has become pregnant.
‘‘The effect of the protection, Section 78 (1) as read with Section 81(1) of the Constitution, is that a girl remains a child regardless of her pregnancy status until she attains the age of 18 years.’’
Chief Makoni and the girl’s father are yet to file their opposing papers and arguments.
Rusape magistrate, Mrs Elizabeth Hanzi, adjourned the matter to today (Friday) for hearing.