Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Marriage age at 15, Commission to consult

Malawi's Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Professor Peter Mutharika. Tabled the Bill in the National Assembly. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Bright Sonani/The Nation

Malawian youths are free to marry at the age of 15 after Parliament on Monday resolved to delete a clause in the constitutional amendment bill which seek to raise the age to 16.

This will be so until the Malawi Law Commission comes up with new proposals on the marriage age.

Before the House voted to pass Bill Number 13 which, among others, contained the marriage age, Minister of Justice and Constitution Affairs Peter Mutharika told the House that government decided to delete the marriage age clause following the debate which ensued after the Bill was passed.

“This bill had 27 amendments and we have deleted that clause on marriage age, meaning the marriage age remains at 15. The proposal has been sent back to the Law Commission for further consultation,” said Mutharika.

Currently, Section 22 (7) of the Constitution says for the people between the age of 15 and 18 years, a marriage shall only be entered into with the consent of their parents or guardians.

Section 22 (8) says the State shall discourage marriages between persons where either of them is under 15.

Parliament passed the bill to raise the age to 16 during the last sitting of the House but President Bingu wa Mutharika did not assent to the bill following protests from various quarters that the age of 16 could be raised further.

After the vote on Monday on the other 26 amendments, the bill was passed without a ‘no’ vote with 149 ‘yes’ while two MPs abstained and 39 were absent.

MCP leader John Tembo was one of those who were absent in the House after he walked out just before the voting started while Nkhotakota Central’s Edwin Banda and Lilongwe Mpenu’s Makala Ngozo (both MCP) abstained-The Nation.

1 comment:

  1. If many women will have education, it will solve more problems of marriage age bill than the playing around with the bill because as more and more women get involved in the running of the countries, as more and more women share powers of many institutions, the patriarchy syndrome which hounds many parts of the world will be reduced and raise the other pillar of a human which is has been ignored long since we can remembered the history of mankind and is women.

    We need to deconstruct more powers which are vested in men and live with mutual respect. People are not owned, things can be owned, and people live together in harmony.

    Hope the professor will stop tilting on the crossroads and reduce using more of his brains because its full of senses which wants to be on the winning side, sometimes use nature, things like ants how they live together and share work to build anthills as well as keep food when they know that the next coming days will not be that good to go out.

    Any written law act like a cloth, too tight will not be good for the one to wear, too lose will also not be that comfortable, and the other way forward to ethics which might help give more people the laws which can be vested in their minds than that which is drafted and re-redrafted without the better draft.

    Bob Marley, "No woman no cry" has more message.

    Life goes on