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Patricia Kaliati, Mcheka-Chilenje popularise Marriage Bill

Female Members of Parliament have embarked on a sensitisation campaign in constituencies that are represented by female parliamentarians informing local masses of the newly passed laws in Parliament.

The laws include the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act, the Gender Equality Law and the Customary Land Bill that has recently caused controversy.

On Sunday, Information Minister, Patricia Kaliati, and Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Esther Mcheka- Chilenje, and Member of Parliament for Neno South, Mary Khembo, held a rally in Mulanje West Constituency where they emphasised the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act aimed at protecting young girls from marrying before turning 18.

Chilenje said their aim as women parliamentarians is to help people understand the newly passed laws and the penalties attached to them.

“We want the leadership of constituencies which are represented by women to learn from us. We want people to follow the laws and that there should be a departure from the bad behaviours that were there before this law.

“We know that in our communities bad things are happening like marrying children at a tender age, marrying more than one wife for non-Muslims, but people should be informed and I am sure they cannot do anything bad when they are aware of what the laws require,” Chilenje said.

Taking her turn, Kaliati who is also Member of Parliament for the area, said the laws have been made for the people and it is the requirement that people should follow them.

“We are talking of the Land Bill and the like, what the law requires is that land should be registered so that rightful owners are known and that there should be proper inheritance when a member of a family dies or when there is a divorce.

“We are also urging people to ensure that they have a proper will, all this is to ensure that people who are supposed to inherit properties are doing so without challenges in any circumstance,” Kaliati said.

Traditional Authority Juma of Mulanje and T/A Mlolo of Nsanje also attended the rally and urged people to ensure that they abide by the laws.

The rally attracted religious leaders from the constituency, the business community, teachers, health workers, police officers, chiefs and members of the village development committees who are expected to sensitise people in their various areas.

Such rallies are expected to be conducted in each constituency represented by a woman. They are being supported by UN Women, Women and Law in Southern Africa Malawi Chapter (Wlsa-Malawi), among other organisations.

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