By Lucy Liponda
Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has pended the assenting of the Constitutional Amendment Bill that was approved in the Malawi National Assembly in the last Parliamentary session, Malawi Digest understands.
In a statement issued on Friday evening, the Office of the Speaker of the National Assembly said that the State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika had not assented to the Bill that is expected to regulate on when young girls and boys should seek consent from their parents or guardians for marriage.
In the approved Bill in the National Assembly, Malawian legislators allowed the Constitutional Amendment to take place making a provision that girls and boys should seek consent from their parents or guardians when they want to get married between the ages of 16 and 18 years.
The passing of the Bill in the National Assembly, initiated a lot of public debate amongst Malawians over the issue and President Bingu wa Mutharika said that he was pleased with the debate describing it as health for democracy.
He said that he was very pleased to hear any suggestions and different opinions from people over the Bill which he described as important in the lives of many Malawians in as far as marriage issues are concerned in the country.
Meanwhile the Speaker's Office says that the Bill is expected to be tabled once more in the next session of Parliament scheduled for October and November.
The Speaker's Office said that what the President has done in pending the signing of Bill is to make sure that legislators are given more time to debate on the matter and get more views from the public before a final decision is made.
According to the Speaker's Office, out of the 16 Bills that were sent to the State President for him to append his signature, it is only the marriage Bill that has not been signed by the President giving it leeway for further debate.
Meanwhile, one of Malawi's leading human rights activists, Emmie Chanika of the Civil Liberties Committee has hailed President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika for showing signs of a listening President.
"In pending the signing of the Bill, the State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has demonstrated to us that he is a listening leader who has the welfare of Malawians at heart," she said.
Chanika appealed to Members of Parliament to debate on the Bill more in-depth so that they come up with a better outcome when the Bill is re-tabled at their forth coming meeting-Malawi Digest.