Report early marriages to police, says Yaluma
By CHILA NAMAIKO -
GOVERNMENT has urged Zambians, especially those in rural areas, to always report to law enforcement agencies some families that force young girls into early marriages.
Works, Supply, Transport and Communications Minister Christopher Yaluma said the Government was concerned about the increased cases of early marriages in rural areas.
The minister was speaking when he launched the campaign against child marriages at Nsokolo Basic School in Mbala District on Thursday.
Mr Yaluma said early marriages had hindered the future of the girl-child.
“We want to see that every child, especially the young girls access education. Early marriages have hindered the girl-child from becoming a responsible citizen and we have to end this practice,” he said.
Mr Yaluma said the girl-child had become vulnerable to early marriages because of some families that were forcing their young ones to get married, citing poverty.
He said Government had committed itself to increasing school infrastructure for young people to access quality education.
Senior Chief Nsokolo of the Mambwe people said early marriages had become rife in his chiefdom and Northern Province in general due to escalating poverty levels.
He said he was currently working on a comprehensive programme which he would use to sensitise all the chiefs in the province to intensify campaigns against child marriages.
He appealed to the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs to assist him with transport and other logistics to enable him to realise his ambitious campaign.
Earlier, Northern Province Minister Obius Chisala appealed to all stakeholders to partner with the Government in spreading messages of ending early marriages.
Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs assistant director Chinjili Zulu said the ministry was targeting traditional leaders to help change people’s mindsets against early marriages.
The launch of the campaign was attended by hundreds of residents.
Mr Yaluma and Senior Chief Nsokolo later distributed T-shirts bearing messages on ending child marriages.