Malawi pass law to end ‘sweet 16’ marriages:  Legal age of marriage now 18 

Malawi has outlawed child marriage after the much awaited Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill which has streamlined legislation on marriage and divorce, and also introduced a new marriage age of 18, was tabled and  has been passed by MPs in the Parliament.

Kaliati: End to child marriages

Kaliati: End to child marriages

Malawi had one of the lowest legal ages of marriage in Africa. The constitution allowed children to marry at the age of 15 with their parents consent.

International child rights standards recommend 18 as the minimum age for marriage.

A Special Law Commission on the review of laws on marriage and divorce was instituted in 2001 and the Bill drafted years later but the cabinet rejected it over the issue of prohibition of polygamy.

Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati tabled the bill in parliament and expressed delight that MP supported to pass the bill especially on the “marriage age.”

Kaliati said they have increased the legal age of marriage  to 18 for girls to be marrie as part of efforts to end the phenomenon of child brides, which has hindered female education in a country where half the population is illiterate.

“The minimum age [for marriage] is now 18 years, when a girl is old enough to make her own choices,” said Kaliati.

Minister Kaliati says parents and guardians who neglect children will  be punished by the law.

“We have set ten years imprisonment as the minimum term for one to serve for being involved in child marriage in one way or the other. This will stop all perpetrators of child marriages.”

A coalition of local and international NGOs is currently engaging a number of girls who had dropped out of school – due to pregnancy or prostitution – with a view to getting them to go back to class.

“A number of girls have returned to school,” said Mac Bain Mkandawire, chairman of the “End Child Marriage Campaign Task-force.”

“But there are many out there still tied to the yoke of early marriage,” he noted. “They want to leave, but they can’t. They need help.”

He believes an amendment of the country’s marriage law would help.

“The amendment will enable us to clearly have the backing of the law,” Mkandawire asserted.

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Ephraim Chimwaza
Guest

As a women rights activists is a good move to pass the bill because it will help us who protected the rights of girls to have the legal backing and puninsh all the perpetrators of child marriage. Bravo the Government, Bravo the MPs. Long live women rights. ” Centre for Social Concern and Development”. Working to end child marriages in Malawi.

muropwana
Guest

Just make primary and secondary education (up to JC) compulsory basi. Early marriages will be reduced drasticcaly that way.

MOFFAT CHARMING JERE
Guest

WITH increasing poverty levels in malawi this is a non~starter. You cannot jail someone for ten years out of a mutually agreed marriage at seventeen, it is abnormal. Jail sentences will never help but civic education and financial support to vulnerables

ndadabwa
Guest

patricia ndiiwedi kholo. congratulations. i salute you

gaba
Guest

kodi mtsikana akalowelera mnyamata mphala mwake mtsikanayo azilandila chilango chotani?

Kelvin
Guest

Mwana amene oti adzakwatidwe ndi zaka 18 wako kapena wanga ?waine ndizakwatitsa ndi 16 ukanene kulikonse wamva iwe PATRICIA !!

Kanyimbi
Guest

Tizingopanga nkhalamba basi. Moreover nkhalamba sizimafuna zambiri bola gondolosi basi.

child advocate
Guest

Bravo the Parliament. But Kaliati what then do we do with Section 22 of the Constitution that still allows girls to marry at 15 years with parental consent?

yungsai
Guest

lets help malawi and our girls to procceed wit gud studies.child abuse is all over malawi mostly in balaka,machinga,mangochi,tyolo and some dstricts.i thnk we can do more than thnkng of marrying them.good education leads into a bright future.

yungsai
Guest

lets help malawi and our girls to procceed wit gud studies.child abuse is over malawi mostly in balaka,machinga,mangochi,tyolo and some dstricts.i thnk we can do more than thnkng of marrying them.good education leads into a bright future.

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