Rufunsa Member of Parliament, Kenneth Chipungu has advised stakeholders attending the National Constitution Conference( NCC) to consider including a clause in the new constitution that will deter people from entering early marriages.
Mr Chipungu said that it was important to make it law in the new constitution that whoever forces one to or enters in such marriages to face punitive actions.
In an interview with ZANIS recently the minster disclosed that early marriages are a contributing factor to lack of development and poverty in his area.
He said the stakeholders should be firm against the vice just like other sexual offences like rape and defilement.
Mr Chipungu who is also Minister of Sports, Youth and Child Development said that early marriages in his constitution are spreading like a cancer.
He stated that it was saddening that some parents were forcing their children into entering such marriages just for prestige of having an in-law.
Mr Chipungu noted that his area lacks professionals to develop because most of the youths enter into early marriages at the expense of going to school.
He added that even though some parents were justifying their move to high levels of poverty in the country, allowing their children in such marriages has not solved the problem because most of the husbands cannot even provide for their family owing to lack of employment.
He further noted that early marriages were not only a detriment to the country’s development but also an abuse on children’s rights.
Mr Chipungu has since appealed to parents to desist from forcing their children into early marriages because it is a drawback to the country.
In the draft Constitution it was recommended that every child has the right to be protected from discrimination, neglect abuse and harmful cultural rites and practices, including female circumcision, tattooing and from being forced into early marriage before attaining the age of 18.