Gender Minister Elizabeth Phiri
Gender Minister Elizabeth Phiri

Minister of Gender, Elizabeth Phiri, has praised the traditional leadership in Eastern Province for doing away with initiation ceremonies for boys and girls under the age of 18 years, as a way of combating teen pregnancies and early marriages in their chiefdoms.

Ms Phiri has expressed happiness with the decision made by the Chewa traditional leaders, to put to an end some of the traditional norms and cultures that hinder the development of children in their chiefdoms.

She further indicated that the step taken by the traditional leaders is a clear indication of how the government is engaging other stakeholders in combating the scourge.

The Minister told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka today that her ministry welcomes the development and that she is optimistic that the move taken by the chiefs will largely help bring to an end early marriages and pregnancies.

She added that she is happy that President Edgar Lungu has taken a lead in spearheading the fight against ending child marriages in the country.

And Ms Phiri has advised that all secondary schools that are being constructed across the country, must have dormitories, for easy monitoring of the children when they are within boundaries.

Ms Phiri observed that children are prone to be exposed to different activities as they report to school due to distances between communities and schools, hence the need for all secondary schools to be turned into boarding schools for easy supervision of school-going children, especially girls.

She also hinted that the government will endeavor to empower women, as they mostly play a vital role in educating the girl child.

Recently, the Chewa Chiefs of Eastern Province banned initiation ceremonies for girls under the age of 18 years and initiation of boys into gule wamkulu groups as one way of abolishing norms that negatively affect children.

The Minister of Gender also expressed concern over Eastern Province recording high rates of child marriages and teen pregnancies.

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21 COMMENTS

  1. Ok but Zambian marriages have outlived so many others because of these practices done properly. Just because they were abused by a few should have seen a better response then a cut throat system to a general tradition. Even here in Australia 2019 all whites have been stopped from climbing Uluru as from Friday as its tradition. Knee Jerk I think You have lasted in Marriage madam because of initiation like all of us

    Thanks

    Will follow the new law

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    • You Zambians are really crazy! Why are you so hellbent on losing your traditional customs? Do you want to become white? Dont you know that the sex education you are now making your kids learn from European dominated social media and schools is foreign colonial culture?
      Are you happy with becoming a nation without culture? We are Africans let us be proud of our practices. We must not succumb to what our ancestors succumbed to when they were invaded by Arabs and Europeans. Be Black and proud! These chiefs are not fit for Africa. They should be taken as slaves to America

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    • When America introduced democracy the whole world followed blindly not knowing that its a way of controlling the world through imperialism. America has legalized homosexuality the whole world is destroying their culture that led to good marriages not knowing that they are introducing homosexuality in their culture

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    • Long time no see old faithful Cat Power. Lusaka Times is now a haven for PF and UPND zealots. Why would you show up with a comment like those clowns too. Our relatives from the east make us from the west proud. This should be emulated by all so called kings and chiefs.

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    • Zambians. Learn to read.

      Nobody has discontinued and traditional practices.

      The chiefs have discontinued initiation ceremonies for boys and girls less than EIGHTEEN YEARS.

      If a child is 18 or over, they will undergo initiation .

      Peace be unto thee

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  2. How wiil that help curb early marriages? Indulging in sex has nothing to do with initiation ceremonies.When a boy or girl has come of age and their bodies start ‘itching’ they can indulge in any sexual activity without much control from parents or guardians

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    • @Parent. Exactly my question. The chiefs don’t have any data linking teenage pregnancies to initiation ceremonies. Take a look at say the Luvales and Tongas how come teenage pregnancies have always been lower compared to tribes in the Eastern province? It all comes down poverty levels – tribes in Eastern province are on the extreme end of it. What they needed to do was to improve the initiation ceremony “syllabus” or teachings.
      What kind of people are we going to be without traditions and a culture to value and celebrate?

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    • Dokowe you are so progressive. These chiefs need to listen to you. Why these chiefs want to lose their traditional customs is because they have an inferiority complex that makes them think African beliefs are responsible for retrogression. So they want to become white. They seem not to know that sex education if not conducted traditionally will be done with drugs and alcohol and without authority. They should indeed restructure their curriculum not to abandon the entire education system they have followed for ages.

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  3. Who conducted the research that claimed that initiation ceremonies are contributing to early marrieges? This is sickening now, we are making decisions based on hearsay of the people with money. Initiation ceremonies for girls and boys coming of age are what makes a Nsenga a Nsenga, a Chewa a Chewa, and when you take it away, you are taking away a local value that makes that society rejuvenate and exist. What is supposed to happen is a slight change of content to suit “modernity” if that is what the government wants. Completely doing away with a cultural tradition that has existed for millions of years in the name of “modernity” and politics is insane!! The line ministries should encourage research that should inform the decisions than depending on hearsay.

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    • Changa na Mayi, I love your comment. Research-based decision-making should be encouraged.

      What are the divorce rates in Eastern Province? The low divorce rates could be attributed to some of the teachings imparted to the young by wise men and women. The calmness, respect for the elderly, conduct at funerals, restrent from sleeping with old people are some of the take-aways from these ceremonies. The values of an eastern girl are based on the same. Now you have taken away that background and replaced it with Telemundo and Zeeworld? What sort of confusion is this. Let’s respect our culture.

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    • This is just a case of black people hating themselves and everything they do. These traditions have brought us up to where we are. You just cant wake up and throw everything out of the window

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  4. The whole reason I married my nsenga wife was because of the sound initiation received during these ceremonies. You take away these sound initations you limit the market of the Nsenga women.

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  5. When America introduced democracy the whole world followed blindly not knowing that its a way of controlling the world through imperialism. America has legalized homosexuality the whole world is destroying their culture that led to good marriages not knowing that they are introducing homosexuality in their culture

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  6. You do not keep traditions if they are detrimental to your future development period. Tribes used to bury live people with dead chiefs. Although some of the people volunteered it was barbaric. Some women were left to raise children without their husbands. We should always question traditions to determine their relevance to our future. Can you imagine traditionally living on top of copper without learning how to dig it out and use to develop the country? Someone from outside will come and dig it out and pay you a little change while he is making millions on the international market. If you keep your traditions you will stay that way forever.

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    I have HSV-1 and I was referred Dr Ahmed through a health blogger site with lot of testimony of him curing diseases and I bought his Herbal medicine and drank it for 21 days with his prescription and I was cured with my HSV result negative Email [email protected] gmail. com  

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  8. We have a minister talking like an uneducated villager. Where are the numbers and figures and the statistics that she relied upon to come up with her decision? Is this about genital elongation or something else?

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  9. Ati: “She further indicated that the step taken by the traditional leaders is a clear indication of how the government is engaging other stakeholders in combating the scourge.” Palibe za-government apa naimwe. Forcing kudos on yourselves cannot work. Just to be seen working and yet she never raised anything of the sort in parliament and yet ati gender – kwisa.
    Disaster!!!

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  10. Utuntu bamayo, utuntu very important. You want to remove the platform for knowing utuntu after you benefited. It’s not fair, let the young ones also enjoy utuntu. There used to be ubulungu bwamumusana, this is not common anymore but young ones are now having tattoos and gold neck chains around the waist. Utuntu is very important.

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