The Victim Support Unit (VUS) has encouraged citizens to familiarize themselves with the law on bigamy which forbids a person who is married under statutory law to get into another marriage.
VSU Deputy Division Coordinator Chief Inspector Tom Ngululu says that when an individual who is married under customary law marries another under statutory law, he or she commits an offence of bigamy which can see one imprisoned up to five years.
He was speaking on UNZA radio’s Lusaka Star programme.
Mr Ngululu stated that while customary marriages allow polygamous union, statutory marriage forbids polygamous marriages and that one can be prosecuted for bigamy if he or she marries another person while still legally married.
“If the second partner can also be prosecuted and sent to prison for up to five years as it is an offence under the laws of Zambia.” He said.
Mr Ngululu said ignorance is no defense and that people need to get to know the laws pertaining to marriage and their partners and find out their backgrounds in order to avoid committing such offences.
“Under the marriage Act section 34 cap 50 of the laws of Zambia; any person who is married under this act shall be incapable of marrying under African customary law during the subsistence of that marriage ‘’, he explained.
Chief Inspector Ngululu further explained that VSU has an open door policy and can offer counsel to couples both under statutory and customary marriages unions.
He further added that no one has been arrested from the video circulating on social media of a woman stopping her husband from marrying another woman in a named church saying the matter has not been reported to the police.