Editor's Comment

Solution to divorce cases needed

REPORTS that over 4,000 marriages were dissolved in the first quarter of 2018 countrywide are deeply saddening, and call for serious interventions to save the face of society’s most valuable institution.
According to local court records, Western Province is topping the list with 967 cases in the first quarter, which is an increase from the 860 cases recorded for the whole year in 2017.
The divorce cases in Western Province have been attributed to adultery, lack of love, use of abusive language and insults.
From January to December in 2017, Lusaka Province recorded 4,107 while in the first quarter of 2018, 814 cases were recorded with the shortest marriage lasting three months and the longest 30 years.
Among the reasons cited for divorce in Lusaka are infidelity, gender-based violence and unemployment among men.
In the first quarter of 2018, Southern Province recorded 874 divorce cases; Copperbelt 790; Eastern 377; North- Western 313; Central 262; Luapula 200; Northern 156, and Muchinga recorded the lowest at 88.
It is also worth noting that like the variation in statistics, the reasons attributed to divorce also vary according to province.
For instance, in Southern Province, divorce cases were attributed to infidelity and desertion, among other reasons.
On the Copperbelt, laziness was cited among the major reasons for divorce while drunkenness and negligence were the major causes in Northern Province.
Like Lusaka Province, gender-based violence and matrimonial disputes were cited among the major reasons for divorce in Central Province.
Among the over 4,000 divorce cases recorded in the first quarter, the longest marriage lasted 46 years while the shortest took only a month.
While 4,000 may look like a mere figure, the painful truth is that this translates into the number of families that disintegrated in the first three months of this year.
This is a crisis considering that to build strong societies and nations, we need strong marriages and families.
It is an established fact that a strong family is the foundation on which society is anchored.
Needless to say, if marriages and families fall apart, then society cannot stand.
If marriages are being dissolved at such a rate, chances of having more delinquent children and subsequently increased crime rates are equally very high.
As a country, we cannot keep our arms folded and watch our society’s main pillar crumble.
There is need for all stakeholders – Government, the Church, families, non-governmental organisations and others – to put their heads together to find a lasting solution.
Analysing the reasons cited for divorce, it is clear there is everything wrong with the way people get into marriage and the reasons for doing so.
We live in a society where people spend so much money and time preparing for the wedding ceremony as opposed to preparing themselves for the lifetime union.
This has led to many entering marriage ill-prepared and the results are what we are grappling with today.
It is also certain that many people go into marriage for very wrong reasons. This is why at any adversity like unemployment a marriage crumbles.
The high divorce rate should also be a wake-up call to rethink our values and attitude as a society.
For instance, we live in a society where it is subtly considered an anomaly for a man or woman of a certain age to be single.
This has exerted pressure on individuals, especially women, who have ended up in wrong relationships for the sake of shaking off the stigma of being single.
The reasons cited for divorce such as infidelity and gender-based violence also point to the fact that the Church has a daunting task at hand to point couples to Christian values, which are a solution to most of the challenges faced in marriages.
There is certainly need to intensify premarital counselling for couples intending to marry. This will help couples understand the seriousness of vows made on their wedding day and the commitments thereafter.
It should be borne in mind that every divorce comes with potential street children and social misfits who find solace in criminality.
Let couples know, too, that vows exchanged on their wedding day are not just slogans but a covenant of what they pledge to abide by “till death do us part”.

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