Zambia lawmakers seek to criminalise child marriages

“Zambia’s lawmakers Wednesday debated a law seeking to criminalise child marriages.
“Official statistics show that 42 per cent of females in Zambia married before the age of 18.
“The southern African country has a population of 14.5 million people.
“Gender and Child Development minister Nkandu Luo told lawmakers that the national gender policy recognised child marriages as a form of “gender based violence”.
“Cultural norms
“”Hotspots (areas where the practice was rampant) have been identified countrywide since a campaign against early marriages was launched,” Prof
“Luo said late Wednesday.
“The minister said the government would push for a law that would raise the minimum age for marriage to 21.
“A Copperbelt based lawmaker, Mr Wylbur Simusa, said levels of child marriages in the country were alarming and that was why there was a need to criminalise the vice.
“Several other lawmakers supported the motion in a country where child marriages were high in rural areas for either religious or cultural norms.
“Zambia has a re-entry policy for girls that fall pregnant while in school.