MWAPE MWENYA, Mwinilunga
CHIEF Kanyama of Mwinilunga district is now charging parents marrying off their young girls K10, 000 in a bid to eliminating child, forced and early marriages in his chiefdom.
Chief Kanyama said in an interview that this development has helped in curbing child marriages and many girls have been rescued and taken back to school.
“If there are early marriages in my chiefdom, then it is something that has not reached my ears because all early marriages have been curbed. Teenage pregnancies are there but we do not allow young girls to be taken into marriage on the basis of pregnancy because they are too young to be wives despite being mothers,” Chief Kanyama said.
He said the chiefdom holds quarterly meetings chaired by him and school authorities. He said community leaders are tasked to submit reports on all projects being undertaken in his chiefdom.
The traditional leader said the major factor contributing to teenage pregnancies is the lack of boarding facilities for Kanyama Secondary School.
He said many girls are renting small huts near the school making it difficult for school authorities to monitor their behaviour.
“Sometimes I drive around the chiefdom just to check on these girls and it is sad that sometimes I find them at the markets in the evenings, when they see my vehicle they all scamper because they know that I do not tolerate such behaviour,” he said.
Chief Kanyama said boarding facilities will help girls who walk more than seven kilometres to and from the school every day.
He said many children, especially girls, drop out of school for fear of long distances that they cover to and from school.