By Sydney Gokomere
Gweru, September 02, 2016 – HUNDREDS of women from apostolic churches from different parts of the country are meeting in Gweru this weekend for a two day conference aimed at finding ways through which rampant cases of child marriages within the church can be reduced.
The white robed church is known for promoting marriages of young girls to older men within the church, someting that has often been frowned at by girl rights groups as child abuse.
The Constitutional Court early this year passed a landmark ruling that outlawed marriage unions among children of below 18 as well as the marrying by older persons, of children below 18.
The conference, which is being held at Mkoba Teachers’ College, is being organised by the Apostolic Women Empowerment Trust (AWET) and has drawn more than 500 women from different apostolic churches.
Operating under the theme “Apostolic Women Unite Against Child Marriage”, it is set to end this Sunday.
“The Apostolic sector has been associated with a lot of bad publicity especially on early child marriages, child abuse, not being educated and being the poorest people in society.
“We are trying to break those prejudices so as to empower and impart gender equality within the Apostolic churches,” said AWET national coordinator, Tendayi Gudo in a press release prior to the meeting.”
Gudo said apostolic churches were committed to working with other stakeholders in ending child marriages.
“Child marriage violates the fundamental human rights of girls and boys, but disproportionately affects girls.
“Girls are denied their right to a consensual marriage, as well as their right to an education, protection, economic engagement and reproductive health care,” she said.