16 girls retrieved from marriages

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SIXTEEN girls have been retrieved from marriages in Chipata and parents ordered to pay a cow or make eight thousand
bricks.

This following a resolution by the Zingalume by-laws on ending child marriage steering committee in Chipata District.
By-laws steering committee Secretary Induna Zingalume confirmed the development in an interview.
“Some parents were summoned by Chief Zingalume at his palace and after they were found guilty of marrying off their young
daughters, they were ordered to bring either a cow or make 8,000 bricks as penalty,” Induna Zingalume said.
He said teachers from various schools in the chiefdom decided to blow the whistle after noticing that girls as young as 12 years
had stopped attending classes and later discovered they were married off.
The Induna said he had received reports of teachers being threatened for disclosing information of children who were married off
by culprit parents.
He noted that teachers who reported child marriage cases were living in fear following frightening remarks from parents who were
planning to bewitch them once the rainy season start.
“These parents are not happy with the teachers and the committee for not allowing them to marry off the young girls. They are
also angry because of the penalties given to them for not abiding by the set by-laws of not marrying off young girls,” Induna
Zingalume explained.
Induna Zingalume said the by-Laws steering committee was not intimidated for retrieving the 16 girls from early marriages.
He said the committee recorded 30 teenage pregnancies during its recent headcount, while 49 school girls had delivered and
were expected back to school after six months.
“We are working as a committee to adequately ensure that no young girl below 20 years of age in the chiefdom are married off,”
he said.
When contacted for a comment, the teachers directed all matters to the Provincial Education Officer.
Following an increase in early marriages and school dropout, the traditional establishments in Eastern Province had set up by-law
steering committees to prevent child marriages. – ZANIS

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