‘Arrest those who marry child brides,’ says Mnangagwa

VICE-PRESIDENT and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has said Government will channel more resources to protect children’s rights.

At commemorations of the Day of the African Child and official opening of the 23rd Session of the Junior Parliament, VP Mnangagwa said Government was committed to educating every child.

“Government will continue to support children to go to school and become educated. An educated person will not give preference to marriage,” he said.

Traditional leaders, he said, should not encourage girls to get married.

“Any cultural beliefs which you have should not encourage these children to go into early marriages for whatever reason, even if it is cultural,” he said.

VP Mnangagwa said children were entitled to protection by the country’s courts.

He said although the Constitution protected children, moderate corporal punishment could be meted out.

“(Our law) outlaws marriage of those who are below the age of 18 years. The statutory laws on marriage should be harmonised with the Constitution, a process which my ministry is doing,” he said.

He said child marriages were impermissible and perpetrators should be reported to the police, because the Marriages Act (Chapter 5:11) “categorically states that ‘no girl under the age of 16 shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage except with the written permission of the minister’, myself”.

The VP added that any consensual sexual intercourse with someone between ages 12 and 16 was statutory rape (having sexual intercourse with a minor).

VP Mnangagwa said about 10 Bills relating to children’s rights were at various stages of drafting.¬†Source: sundaymail

photo-herald–¬†Vice President Cde Mnangagwa

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