Southern African parliamentarians have endorsed a call to end child marriage in sub-Saharan countries at the 37th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, which ended in Cape Town on Saturday.
Speaking at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) when welcoming the Malawi group, leader of the delegation, who is also SADC PF vice president, Joseph Njobvuyalema, said a resolution was taken at the week-long assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum to expedite the drafting of a model law on child marriages and to ensure that this is approved by the 39th Plenary Assembly Session.
“Let me reveal here that SADC countries will benefit a lot from the bill,” said Njobvuyalema.
“Countries needs collective approach whenever dealing with issues regarding early marriages. As SADC we will have a standardised law to which will coherently and effectively address the early marriages,” Njobvuyalema said.
He noted that 40 per cent of children in southern Africa are being married off before they are 18 years of age.
.Two SADC member states are among ten countries with the highest rates of child marriages in the world, where over 50 per cent of children are getting married before they reach the legal age of 18.
Njobvuyalema said SADC governments were also encouraged to adopt integrated approaches towards preventing and eliminating child marriages, including engaging with women and girls themselves and their families, traditional authorities, faith-based organisations and legislators.
The Malawi delegation comprised Jessie Kabwira of Malawi Congress Party(MCP), Patricia Kainga of People’s Party, Enock Luka of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Yahaya of United Democratic Front (UDF).