Parliamentary Speaker Richard Msowoya has disclosed that President Peter Mutharika has signed into law a ban on child marriages, two months after lawmakers passed a bill raising the marrying age to 18.
The Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations bill replaced a widely criticized old law which allowed 15-year-old girls to marry with parental consent
The new law carries a 10-year prison sentence for anyone who marries under the age of 18.
Speaker said ion Wednesday that President Mutharika had now “assented to the bill which has become law”.
Mutharika told reporters recently that previous governments were “afraid to table the bill in parliament after the process to have the bill started 15 years ago.”
But as a “listening government, I am going to decide what is good for the people of Malawi and act accordingly”, he said.
Lawmaker Jessie Kabwila. a spokesperson for the leading opposition party in parliament, the Malawi Congress Party, said the law will have a positive impact.
Kabwila said it “illustrates, aims to fight the problem that is the root of high rates of school drop-outs, fistula, high mortality rates, poverty, HIV and AIDS and other forms of abusive and oppressive conduct that lead to girls getting married early.”