Gwembe Chief Clamps Down On Early Marriages

Legal

CHIEF Chipepo of Gwembe District has directed his headmen to immediately effect arrests on all men who have married underage girls in his area.

The chief has further decreed that all culprits should be handed over to the State Police within 24 hours of arrest.

The visibly annoyed traditional ruler issued the directive at Kayuni on the shores of Lake Kariba during the launch of the Chipepo Transformation Centre yesterday by the Northmead Assemblies of God.

Chief Chipepo was angered after area District Commissioner Alice Mwiinga reported that four Grade Eight girls from his chiefdom aged 13 had been married off by their parents.

Ms Mwiinga complained of increased cases of early marriages involving underage girls, which had continued unabated and was defeating Government’s efforts to empower the girl-child with education.

Therefore, in response, Chief Chipepo vowed to ensure that all culprits involved in early marriages were arrested, handed over to the Police and prosecuted.

He threatened serious action on headmen who would fail to implement his directive.

“I decree that all men who have married underage girls be arrested today. Wherever you are, consider yourselves arrest,” Chief Chipepo warned at a meeting attended by scores of village headmen. Headmen, if you have no handcuffs, tie them with ropes or fibre and ensure they are handed over to the Police within 24 hours,” the chief said.

Earlier, Northmead Assemblies of God Church overseer, Joshua Banda, said the launch of the Chipepo Mission Transformation Centre was an effort by the church to help remedy evil practices that impeded development in the area.

Bishop Banda said through the centre, the church would establish education and health facilities, while venturing into tourism, livestock and other agriculture-related activities for job creation for the local people.

Bishop Banda disclosed that the church would also establish a professional fishing company and a tourism destination centre as economic thrusts in the area.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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