We need to open our eyes and reject outdated practices. We must not condone such barbaric acts
By Terrence Mwedzi
The high prevalence of child marriage in Zimbabwe is worrisome and shocking.This clearly shows that we are living in a very strange society. Sure we are living in a dark world and something worthwhile must be done before it’s too late.
A few days ago the social media was awash with a story of 14-year-old girl who recently lost her precious life during child birth at an apostolic sect’s church gathering in Marange(Bocha).
The girl was forced out of school while doing Form One in Mhondoro to get married to Evans Momberume.
This fast growing online publication (The Sunday Express) also carried part of the same story,and l would like to give my opinions about the child marriage because it is a societal problem.
I understand that child marriage is a truly global problem, but today l want to write more about our country Zimbabwe.
In this day and age, no sane person can support child marriage and as people we are doing less to end child marriages/early marriages.
Sure the death of Memory Machaya made a sad reading, and l strongly feel that more young girls are being forced into marriage especially in remote areas.
What are we doing to end child marriages and protect our girls from sex predators? We need to up our game now to tackle child marriage in our very communities.
The government, NGOs, and Women’s organisations should be more vocal in their condemnation of child marriages. They must be more visible on the ground all the time and call a spade a spade.
The traditional Chiefs and police have also a big role play. Needed is a collective effort from all corners of the country.
It is everyone’s duty to hunt down sex predators.
Furthermore, the sex predators must be caged, and we must throw away the keys. They must face the music, and learn the hard way.
l strongly feel that more campaigns must be done nationwide because on the other hand, it is still shocking that early marriages continue to rise – in spite of the awareness by government and NGOs in some vicinities.
In this vein, l think we must always address the root causes of child marriages.
It is known that marriage can be found in all cultures, but there are some cultures or practices which are abusing the girl child. We need to open our eyes and reject outdated practices. We must not condone such barbaric acts.
There are some churches leaders who are exposing young girls to sex predators…and those elements must be named, shamed, and jailed. It is time to protect the child and unravel the truth. It is known that some Apostolic churches are also capable of forcing young girls into marriages which is evil and outdated. Evil cultures must be scrapped.
Girls’ choices must not be limited and child marriage has devastating consequences. Action must be taken to stop that.
In contrast, l would be happy to see institutions directing more funds and resources towards ending child marriage.
People should always be taught and reminded that child marriage violates girls to health, education, opportunities etc..
Child marriage without the free and full consent of both spouses is a serious human rights violation.
I think the girl child should be well-financed and multi-sectoral. The time to empower the girl child is now.
It is revealed that more than 630 million women alive today already suffer the direct consequences of child marriage globally-which is very worrisome.
Our constitution states that the legal age of consent for sexual activity is 16, while the minimum age for marriage is 18.
Most of the girls are dropping out of school even without completing their primary or basic education-which is not good.
Surely,we are living in a broken society.This must come to an end.The causes are many but we must deal with the severe ones first going forward.
On the other hand,the rate of child marriage l feel that marriage had been increased in the country due to school closures,food insecurity,and economic uncertainly triggered by the invisible enemy(COVID-19).
It is time to shun evil acts and put things in order because we are living in a new world.Some cultures /beliefs are very bad.
We should continue to work around the clock to end child marriages.
Let’s all protect the Girl Child.
Terrence Mwedzi is a poet and writer. He writes to the Digital Sunday Express in his personal capacity and can be contacted on:+27611370088. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
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