CHOMBA MUSIKA, Parliament
GOVERNMENT has developed the marriage and child code bills which will help effectively address child marriages in the country, Parliament heard on Tuesday.
Minister of Gender Victoria Kalima told Parliament that the two bills will soon be tabled before Parliament.
Ms Kalima said this when she presented a ministerial statement on the update on ending child marriages programmes and the current state of gender-based violence (GBV) in the country.
She said the two bills will also help address challenges arising from dual marriage laws, namely customary and statutory.
“The child code bill will particularly help address the definition of a child. This is because a child is defined differently in different circles including at the instance of obtaining national documents such as the green national registration card, driver’s licence and voters cards, among others,” Ms Kalima said.
Zambia has one of the highest child marriage rates in the world with 31 percent of women aged between 20 and 24 married by the age of 18. The rates of child marriage vary from one region to another, and are as high as 60 percent in the country’s eastern region, and as low as 28 percent in the capital, Lusaka.
Meanwhile, Ms Kalima said her ministry, in partnership with stakeholders, will continue to implement projects that will curb gender-based violence, especially child marriages.
“There are a number of programmes being implemented or co-ordinated by my ministry such as the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) and United Nations joint programme on gender-based violence such as the girls education and women livelihood project aimed at keeping girls in school to keep them away from the negative effects of child marriages,” said Ms Kalima, who is Patriotic Front (PF) Kasenengwa member of Parliament.
She also said Government plans to implement an end to child marriages pilot project in Luapula and Northern provinces.