Chief Mumena of the Kaonde speaking people in Solwezi district fears that the scourge of child marriages has potential to surpass the HIV/AIDS pandemic if not checked.
Chief Mumena told ZANIS in Solwezi over the weekend that child marriage incidences are increasing to alarming levels and spiralling out of control in rural communities.
“It is a scourge and social evil. If left unchecked, this will be more than HIV/AIDS,” he said.
Chief Mumena has since implored stakeholders at every level of society to team up with a common goal of eliminating child marriages in communities.
The traditional leader said that massive sensitizations are being carried out at every community meetings in his chiefdom to ensure that the vice is stopped through concerted efforts in order to prevent a disaster.
Chief Mumena noted that child marriages affects the socio-economic development landscape of the country in that it deprives the girl child the necessary education needed for her to positively contribute to national economic development of the country.
The Chief added that some disadvantaged girls in his chiefdom whose parents are incapable to pay school fees are being sponsored to continue with school so that they do not fall prey to child marriages.
And A traditional leader in Luwingu District has appealed to government to consider coming up with deliberate laws that will sternly deal with perpetrators of early marriages in the country.
Chieftainess Chungu of the Bemba speaking people of Luwingu District made the appeal in an interview with ZANIS yesterday.
The traditional leader observed that it will be difficult to end the trend so long as perpetrators are not served with heavy penalties.
Chieftainess Chungu said teenage marriages are a vice which is becoming a major concern in her chiefdom.
The traditional leader further attributed the promotion of human rights as one of the contributing factors to the escalating cases of early marriages in the community.
She stated that in most cases traditional leaders fail to discipline perpetrators of such issues for fear of being dragged to the police and courts of law on allegations of violating human rights.
The Chieftainess said it is against this background that she wants government to come up with laws that will ensure that parents in the habit of promoting early marriages are severely punished.