Child marriages are illegal and should not be tolerated, Traditional Authority (T/A) Chapananga of Chikwawa District has said after he terminated 17 teenage marriages in her area from January 25 2016 to date.
Chapananga, with the help of Chikwawa District Council, has since made sure the couples have been re-enrolled to various primary and secondary schools.
Speaking in an interview, Chapananga said most of the teenage marriages were fuelled by the January 2015 floods where most of the households in his area were displaced and were either seeking refuge in schools or tents that were erected in various places.
“Because there was no proper family set ups to the people that found shelter in schools and camps, most boys and girls were sleeping at the same place and they ended up impregnating each other and got married.
Chikwawa district commissoner Bester Mandere said it is not only teen marriages that his council is against, but also employing teens of school-going age is illegal as it is child labour and the malpractice stops children from attaining their life goals.
The initiative of terminating teen marriages in communities coincides with government agenda to end early marriages following the enactment of the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill which, among others, restricts girls from getting married before attaining 18 years of age.