HONE SIAME, Lusaka
IF ANYONE out there has negative energy and feels like eloping with, sexually molesting or even marrying an under-age girl, they should look over their shoulders because
Chief Madzimawe may just be in sight.
The chief is becoming something of a cult hero even beyond girls’ rights activists because of his uncompromising stance against violation of the girl-child’s rights, particularly those pertaining to education.
Last weekend, he condemned to community service parents of five under-age children who were turned into beer hall dancers and, before the country’s ovation died down, the chief had sanctioned the withdrawal of a Grade 5 pupil from marriage across the borders. Was it marriage? He called it abduction and the offender – a 20-year-old Malawian bloke – has been arrested.
The girl, on the other hand, has been re-united with fellow pupils at a named school, with a strong warning that she should not be ostracised.
“This good for nothing character [Malawian man who married the pupil] only ended up in Grade 4… I feel it’s a time bomb in chiefdoms whose leadership is not taking up any measures to address this cancer and also to capture data as how many girls end up in such marriages….God help us,” Chief Madzimawe wrote on his Facebook page.
“She’s back now…and special thanks to Zambia Police Eastern Province command; the regional co-ordinator Madam Mubita, and the officer in charge [at] Chipata victim support unit for helping our chiefdom’s gender office in tracking and bringing this young girl from Malawi, where she eloped to with a 20 years old Malawian national as wife and husband,” he said.
The chief said he learnt about the marriage when the school administration wrote to his chiefdom when the girl stopped reporting to school.
“Upon discovering what had transpired, relatives were sent to Malawi and when this girl saw them, she ran away to hide in the bush, hence using the Zambia Police,” he said.
He has warned the traditional leadership in his chiefdom against marrying off young girls.