Chief Makoni forces school kids to marry

The Manica Post - - Local News - Love­more Kadzura Rusape Cor­re­spon­dent

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.

Chief Makoni

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