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MEMBERS of Chamuka chiefdom attend the launch of by-laws on ending early marriage, early pregnancy and child labour recently. PICTURE-MIKE MUGALA

Taking child marriage personal

WITH 42 percent of women aged between 20 and 24 years married off by the age of 18, Zambia ranks among countries with the highest child marriage rates in the world. Currently, Zambia is ranked 16th amongst countries with the highest rate of child marriage in the world, and although the Marriage Act establishes a legal age for marriage, and the Penal Code makes sex with a girl under 16 an offence in Zambia, these provisions rarely apply in customary law. Owing to this, early child marriage has become a vital topic of discussion amongst several development platforms, so much that the vice has now become even more visible to many people, including those that were previously unaware of its existence. And as the local proverb goes: “One finger cannot crush a louse”, there is indeed strength in numbers. This proverb holds true in the fight against early or forced marriage.
The future of most girls is threatened by early or forced marriage, making it a national concern, bringing many organisations and people on board, all in an effort to mitigate it – this includes 30-year-old Choma-based activist Genious Musokotwane.
I caught up with the budding youth, who has decided to dedicate not only his time, but also resources, to fighting the vice and sending children, especially girls, to school. At his young age, Mr Musokotwane is also executive director for Musokotwane Compassion Mission Zambia (MCMZ), a Choma-based non-profit and youth-led organisation that frontiers the fight against child marriages. Not only that, his organisation, which has on CLICK TO READ MORE