By Sij Ncube
Harare, June 07, 2016 – SOUTHERN African Development Community (Sadc) parliamentarians are pushing the regional grouping to pass legislation in their respective countries outlawing child marriages as it emerges the practice is rampant in the region.
MDC-T legislator Innocent Gonese last week successfully moved a motion that the 39th Plenary Assembly of the Sadc Parliamentary Forum adopts the model law on Eradicating Child Marriages and protecting those already in marriage in Southern Africa.
Gonese confirmed the move, adding that his motion was ably seconded by a legislator from Malawi, Jessie Kabwila.
The SADC Parliamentary Forum held its 39th plenary assembly in Swaziland from the 30th May to the 7th June.
“The next stage is to send the model Law to all Sadc countries and urge them to incorporate and domesticate it so as to eliminate this evil practice.
“This is a first in the world as no other organ or forum has come up with such a comprehensive instrument and the work has to begin to propagate awareness and sensitise communities on the issue,” said Gonese.
He added that the process was complimented by African Union Goodwill Ambassador Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda who facilitated a panel discussion dinner on the subject where some victims of the rampant practice gave their testimonies.
MDC-T Member of Parliament Jessie Majome graced the occasion.
Gonese said the model needed a lot of advocacy awareness and sensitisation Programme.
“All the 14 Parliamentary delegations were in support but the Devil is in the Implementation,” he said.
The World Health Organisation estimates more than 39 000 girls are forced into marriage globally every day.