The Malawi Government on Wednesday, called on Malawians to work together to end child marriages; this is one way of promoting children’s rights in the country. Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Samuel Tembenu, said this at Capital Hotel in Lilongwe, during an interface dinner commemorating the Constitutional amendment on marriage age.
Tembenu said it has been long journey, which saw parliamentarians and other stakeholders work hard to ensure that the amendment on marriage was raised from 16 years to 18 was successful.
“The process to raise the legal age of marriage began back in 2008 and the focus was on the greater good of protecting a lot of children that were being married off at a young age. We are here to celebrate a landmark achievement by Government in enacting the law,” Tembenu said.
The Justice Minister called on the nation to help publicizing and implementing the new law.
“Everyone should know about this law, especially people in the villages where a lot of child marriages take place. They should understand that the law forbids that practice,” he said.
He added that the enactment of the law helps curb the problems inherent in child marriages.
In her remarks, UN Resudent Coordibator Mia Seppo, thanked the Malawi Government for its commitment towards advancing the empowerment of women and girls in the country.
“The Government has shown commitment to outlaw child marriages, and provide a violent-free environment for women and girls through the enactment of the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act,” Seppo said.
The Women and Law in Southern Africa (WILSA) Executive Director Mzati Mbeko, said for the law to work smoothly, Malawi has to come together as a nation in safeguarding women and children.
“We need to protect women and children. We must work together in implementing these laws,” Mbeko said.
The Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act was passed by Parliament last year and paved the way to ending child marriage when a clause in the Bill raised the age of marriage.