Traditional leaders in Mchinji have called for stiff punishment for parents who force their children into early marriages.
Senior Chief Mkanda made the remarks in Mchinji on Monday after viewing a Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) film “The Child Within’ which explores the effects of early marriages and pregnancy from a child’s perspective.
He said it was sad that some parents force their girls into marriage after receiving gifts from suitors who later on abandon the girls when they get pregnant.
“I call on parents to desist from forcing their children into early marriages but rather look for ways of finding resources for their children to go to school,” said Chief Mkanda.
Mkanda said his area instituted by laws which will punish such parents and all the offenders.
Acting Traditional Authority Mduwa also said his area would use by laws to help girls finish their education.
He said anyone who breaks these laws would be ordered to pay fines or goats to the chiefs’ council.
CAMFED district committee member, Maudling Nhlema said the film was aimed at showing parents, traditional leaders, teachers and children the effects of early marriage in the country.
“The film shows real life of four girls who were married early and got pregnant at the ages of 13 to 19 who were grappling with poverty,” he said.
Nhlema who is also the District Youth Officer said the film was shown to the stakeholders to make them aware that there is a Child Protection and Justice Act that aims at protecting children.