Traditional Authority Kilupula of Karonga has blamed parents in the district for sending young girls into early marriages in order to benefit from dowry.
The chief made the sentiments following reports that the district has made strides to reduce cases of early marriages from 42 in 2016 to 23 in 2017.
“Most of girls are forced into marriages by their parents who would want to benefit wealth from the dowry.
“This tendency has led to an increase of early marriages in the district. However, as chiefs we have put down mechanisms to fight such malpractices,” Kilupula said.
In Karonga, parents marrying off their daughters receive wealth in form of herds of cattle or money as dowry.
Police Child Protection Officer Sub-inspector Steve Bandewande said it has taken efforts by several organizations, including the chiefs, to reduce the cases of early marriages in the district.
Bandewande, therefore, called for continued stakeholder coordination to curb cases of early marriages in the district.
He bemoaned the tendency by some parents to bloat the age of their children married below the age of 18 to save them from being taken to task.
Project Coordinator for Foundation for Community Support Services (Focus), Griffs Nyirongo, said his organization is making strides to combat early marriages in the district through enforcement of bylaws formulated by the chiefs