The Child Protection Committee in Chasefu Town, in Eastern Province has retrieved a 16-year-old girl from marriage.
The girl,a grade nine pupil , was retrieved yesterday around 15:30 hours after her parents of Mlaka Village reported that their 16-year-old was married after she eloped with a man identified as Machiya Ndhlovu of Manyala Village in Senior Chief Magodi’s area four days ago.
District Child Protection Committee Chairperson Diana Lupiya said in an interview that the law does not permit adolescent children to get married.Ms Lupiya, who is also District Administrative Officer, said the committee decided to retrieve the girl because she was underage and supposed to sit for her Grade nine examinations this year.
“According to the government regulations, anyone who is below 19 years of age is a child and is not supposed to get married,” Ms Lupiya said.
Meanwhile, District Social Welfare Officer, Ozias Banda disclosed that early marriages were on an increase in Chasefu currently standing at 60 per cent in the province.
Mr Banda noted that his office does not condone the practice of early marriages and warned men to desist from taking young girls for brides.
He explained that the committee is mandated to see that children in the district are protected from early marriages and ensure that they complete school and have a better future.
“The girl we have retrieved today will on Monday go back to school, and the committee will keep on counselling and monitoring her to ensure she does not go back to the man’s house,” Mr Banda said.
Eastern Province grapples with the problem of early marriages and teen pregnancies, with statistics showing that 1,400 girls below 15 years were either pregnant or married between January and June this year.