Mangochi youths have challenged their chiefs to be tough on people who perpetrate child marriages to end the vice in the district.
The youth said this on Saturday in Monkey-Bay during the Get Up Speak Out (Guso) sensitisation meeting organised by YouthNet and Counselling (Yoneco) to discuss challenges that prevent the youth from accessing sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) services.
In an interview, one of the youth, Proper Gama from Machilika Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Nankumba in the district, observed that Mangochi remains one of the districts in the country with high incidences of child marriages.
He blamed this on the failure by the youth to access SRHR services and poverty.
But the youth blamed the chiefs for failing to implement tough measures to deter perpetrators of the vice.
Said Gama: “We are still witnessing some parents and guardians marrying off their girl-child under the watch of chiefs. The parents/guardians are not scared because of the chiefs’ failure to effect harsh punishments.” In his remarks, Yoneco deputy coordinator for Guso project Felix Gwaza said despite the gaps, it is now encouraging to note that the project, which seeks to end child marriage is on track.