MACKSON WASAMUNU, Mansa
HEADMAN Kabombeka of Kamfungo, Chebele village in Mansa, has appealed to Government to introduce punitive measures against guardians and parents marrying off their teen daughters.
And Bahati member of Parliament Harry Kalaba has warned those entertaining the vice of facing arrest because it is an offence.
There have been reports of high incidences of teen pregnancies and child marriages across the country with Luapula Province and Mansa in particular having a lot of cases.
The traditional leader blamed the womenfolk for escalating the vice, which has led to many girls as young as 12 years old dropping out of school.
Mr Kalaba, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited the area to check on development projects and interacted with the local community.
He advocated introduction of punitive action from Government as a sure way to end teen pregnancies and early marriages.
â€œMr Kalaba, please I am asking you to take up this matter seriously, help us report the women in our villages who are responsible for this vice because they like keeping secrets, concealing the abominable relationships,â€ headman Kabombeka said.
The women, on account of freebies in form of salt and fish, sacrifice the futureÂ of our young children, let government come up with laws to arrest guardians entertaining the vice and punish them so that others can learn from them.â€
And Mr Kalaba told the community in Chebele that it is an offence to allow teens to fall pregnant and marrying them off.
â€œIt is an offence, we are going to punish everyone involved, including those who receive payments, and those who attend ceremonies where such marriages are arranged,â€ Mr Kalaba said.
â€œIt is from these same young people you are marrying off that we shall have medical doctors, teachers, members of Parliament and councillors but you are driving them into poverty at will.â€
The minister encouraged the community to unite and fight the vice by taking children, especially girls, to school.
Meanwhile, Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) has embarked on a project aimed at promoting the education of the girl-child.
According to Economic Empowerment and Sustainable Livelihoods co-ordinator, Juliet Ilunga, the project is responding to increasing reports of girls dropping out of school due to teenage pregnancies, early marriage and other factors.
The project, which will initially run for a year, will cost US$60,000.
MACKSON WASAMUNU, Mansa