29 June 2016
ON Tuesday Â we led with a story on child marriage in which a 24-YEAR-OLD Goromonzi man impregnated a 15-year-old and divorced her nine months later, after she gave birth.
The story is typical of child marriages and how they end prematurely as the children are not ready for marriage.
The story came to light after the girlâ€™s parents dragged the ex-husband to appear before a headman demanding that he should maintain his nine-month old child.
What was sad was the way the headman subtly blamed the young girl for entering into marriage too early.
Whilst children are advised not to enter into marriage before they are 18, it is the adult who marries an underage girl that deserves most of the blame.
It is that adult who has broken the law.
Any marriage with persons below the age of 18 is illegal as has been ruled by the courts.
Now that the law has been laid down, it is now up to parents to nurture their children with this in mind and up to adults to respect this law.
Every young person must know that they have to be at least 18 years old before they can entertain the idea of marriage.
It is even advisable to not enter into marriage aged only 18 as there may still be some growing up to do even at that age.
President Mugabe emphasized this to end the madness surrounding reducing the legal age of consent to having sexual intercourse to 12 years at the official opening of the 23rd session of the Junior Parliament last year.
The President noted that day that debate should be about increasing the age of consent to 18, when one would have reached adulthood, not reducing it.
The President said government could soon outlaw any marriage with persons below the age of 18 and today that is the case.
President Mugabe said â€œthe parents will succeed much more than the government (in reducing cases of child marriage) by teaching usefulness of education to their children; that after form four, do some course.
Itâ€™s not just going to university which is the possible root to higher development.â€
The aforementioned parents should have reported the 24-year-old to the police when he impregnated their child aged only 15.
Obviously, for girls to enter into child marriage, they have to leave school and keeping the girl child in school has been one of the biggest challenges Africa has had to face. And Zimbabwe is no exception.
To have more girls dropping out of school in the country is embarrassing and backward. Statistics show the number of female students dropping out of Secondary school and Advanced level are very high while there are a lot of child marriages in the country.