Sunday, March 22, 2015

Freedom to be free

No studies have yet been conducted on the number of child marriages in Zimbabwe, but the UN estimates that 31 percent of the country's girls tie the knot at an early age.

"Most girls who are being married early are doing so because their parents are poor and are looking for money," Dapson Muza, 66, told the Anadolu Agency.

Tandiwe Kaseke, a 49-year-old widow from Chamboko village in Seke, agreed. "In my village, a 14-year-old girl was forced into marriage by her parents due to poverty," she told AA. "Now she is in hospital due to pregnancy complications," Kaseke lamented.

The Customary Marriages Act, however, does not set a minimum marriage age for girls. Girls under 16 can marry with the consent of their parents or guardians, while boys cannot marry before reaching 18. The customary law allows polygamy. Tradition allows Zimbabwean men to enter into polygamous marriages – sometimes with women as young as 15 years old.

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