At least nine grade seven pupils at Liombe primary school in Kapiri Mposhi district last year dropped out of school due pregnancies and early marriages.
And government has challenged traditional leaders in Kapiri Mposhi district to exercise their authority and intervene in the rampant incidents of early marriages and child pregnancies being experienced in their respective areas.
The pupils include a 16-year-old boy who dropped out of school after marrying a 15-year-old girl from the same school.
This came to light when Kapiri Mposhi District Commissioner, Smart Mwila visited the school where he addressed nine village headmen.
School deputy head teacher Elias Chikoti revealed that seven girls quit school after falling pregnant while two other pupils discontinued their education due to early marriages.
Mr. Chikoti however said the school administration made a follow-up on the pregnant girls to allow them to continue school through the government re-entry policy.
He disclosed that only six girls managed to continue with school after giving birth.
“We persuaded them to come back and continue with school at the same time they were pregnant and we gave them leave from school so that they can resume after delivery of their babies … some came back and are even doing grade eight now,” Mr. Chikoti said.
But Kapiri Mposhi District Commissioner Smart Mwila implored traditional leaders in the district to intervene in the rampant incidents of early marriages and child pregnancies being experienced in their areas.
Mr . Mwila challenged the traditional leaders to help the government by exercising their powers to dissolve early marriages.
He further urged traditional leaders to exercise their authority to discourage other social vices such as brewing and consumption of illicit local beer commonly known as Kachasu, which he said was hampering productivity and development in rural areas.
“You have a lot of problems such as early marriages and pregnancies and brewing and consumption of Kachasu but you are there just watching. Kachasu brewing and drinking is destroying people and affecting productivity in your areas …so help the government to govern at village level,” Mr. Mwila said.
Meanwhile, the traditional leaders have appealed to the government to reopen Liombe police post which was closed over 15 years ago.
They said reopening the police post will help curb increased crime rates being experienced in the area.
Speaking on behalf of others, senior headman Robby Pondala, explained that the area is experiencing criminal activities, among them murder, gender based violence (GBV) and stock theft.
“We need police presence in our area because people are using mob justice and mob psychology and even witchcraft to settle problems,” headman Pondala said.
He stated that criminals were taking advantage of the absence of police officers in the area to commit crime.
Currently, people in Liombe area report criminal cases to Kasanda police station in Kabwe, which is about 70 kilometres away.