‘Child mar­riage cul­prits need stiff Pun­ish­ment’

Daily Nation Newspaper - - Home News - By NA­TION RE­PORTER

PER­PE­TRA­TORS of early marriages should be given stiffer pun­ish­ment to de­ter other would-be of­fend­ers, Mkushi district Zam­bia Na­tional Women's Lobby chair­per­son Getrude Banda said yes­ter­day.

Ms Banda said in an in­ter­view that in Mkushi early marriages were ram­pant which she at­trib­uted to poverty at house­hold level, among other causes.

She cited Fibanga as one area where early marriages were rife and said tan­gi­ble re­me­dial mea­sures were needed to be taken ar­rest the sit­u­a­tion.

She said many girl chil­dren were drop­ping out of school and got mar­ried, a trend which should be stopped by meting out stiffer pun­ish­ment to of­fend­ers.

Mostly women were in the fore­front of ar­rang­ing early marriages for their daugh­ters for them to have son-in laws who could give them ma­te­rial and fi­nan­cial sup­port.

"Laws on early marriages must be stiff­ened and per­pe­tra­tors be pun­ished heav­ily as a deter­rent to would be of­fend­ers," Ms Banda said.

And Ms Banda ap­pealed to the gov­ern­ment to in­tro­duce bur­saries for girls re­trieved from early marriages to en­able them to con­tinue with their ed­u­ca­tion.

She said many chil­dren from poverty-stricken house­holds and re­trieved from early marriages, were fail­ing to con­tinue with ed­u­ca­tion due to lack of spon­sor­ship, hence they went back into marriages.

She called Non- Gov­ern­men­tal Or­gan­i­sa­tions (NGOs) deal­ing with child pro­tec­tion and early marriages to­gether with the Po­lice Vic­tim Sup­port Units (VSUs) to en­hance sen­si­ti­sa­tion cam­paigns against the vice.

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