Some traditional leaders and non-governmental organisations have asked the government to popularise the new law on marriage age after Parliament last week raised it from 16 to 18 years.
Without making it popular, the chiefs fear the new law will have no positive impact on the fight against early marriages, which are said to be draining a significant chunk of public resources as government struggles to provide social services to the increasing population.
Speaking in Mangochi after appreciating activities that Youth Net and Counselling (Yoneco) is implementing under the ‘More Than A Bride (MTB) Protect’, the organisation’s board member, Joseph Mshanga, said Parliament’s action should be supported through civic education campaigns.
“This [enactment] is a welcome development. But we need to join hands in making it [the new law] popular so that local leaders can start using it to fight the problem of child marriages,” Mshanga said.
Reacting to the development, Traditional Authority Chimwala of Mangochi hailed Parliamentarians for rising to the occasion on the issue of child marriages.
He was, however, quick to point out that the government should do the needful to make sure that other state agencies such as the police are playing their role in ensuring that provisions of the law are being enforced.
“There are a lot of laws and legal provisions we are not using in the country. We should start appreciating that a significant part of the country’s population is uneducated. We need to support this population by civic educating Malawians about the laws of the land for them to join efforts aimed at promoting law and order in the country,” Chimwala said.
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