Source: The Herald
Parliament was yesterday urged to expedite the passage of the Guardianship of Minors Amendment Bill that seeks among other issues, to bar parents from consenting to marriage of children.
Justice, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi yesterday read the Bill for the second time in the National Assembly where he appealed to legislators to pass the proposed law.
The Bill seeks to amend the Guardianship of Minors Act and will remove references to parents consenting to marriages of minor children as contained in section 4 of the Act.
Minister Ziyambi said it was critical to pass the Bill to ensure the protection of minors against early marriages.
The issue of child marriages has come under the spotlight following the death of 14-year-old Anna Machaya at a Johanne Masowe Apostolic Sect shrine in Marange.
Hatirarame Momberume (26) has since been arrested for engaging in sexual acts with a minor and murder, while the late Anna's parents, Edmore Machaya and Shy Mabika, are facing obstruction of justice charges.
It is also said the parents misled investigators that the person who died was Memory Machaya and was 22-years-old.
However, it later turned out that Memory was alive. The parents are alleged to have pledged their nine-year-old daughter to Momberume.
Apart from outlawing child marriages, the Bill also seeks to align the law with the Constitution by giving a mother and a father equal rights over the guardianship of their child or children and to consult each other over their welfare.
The Bill will also give fathers co-guardianship for children born out of wedlock, removing current provisions that give the role to mothers.
Debate on the Bill is expected to continue today.