A national dialogue between the Parliamentary caucus on children (PPC) and the House of Chiefs has been held in Lusaka with the aim of ending child marriages in Zambia.
Finance Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, Speaker of the National Assembly Nelly Mutti, House of chiefs Chairperson Chief Chisunka and chairperson of the Parliamentary caucus on children Joseph Munsanje attended the national dialogue.
Dr. Musokotwane read the keynote speech on behalf of President Hakainde Hichilema which highlighted that child marriages remains a big social and developmental challenge.
He said child marriages have long term consequences such as denying children the opportunity to acquire academic and life skills to liberate themselves and their families from the inter-generational cycle of poverty.
“As you are all aware, child marriages and teenage pregnancies remain a social and developmental challenge that have a life-long impact on children particularly the Girl child. The vice has long term consequences such as denying children the opportunity to acquire academic and life skills to liberate themselves and their families from the inter-generational cycle of poverty. You may wish to note that ending child marriages is among the top priorities for my government, as it will ensure our young people’s equitable participation in the development of this country. I, therefore, would like to pledge my Government’s total support towards the fight against this worrying vice in our country.It is a great honour for me to be invited to grace the official opening of the national dialogue between the Parliamentary caucus on children and the house of chiefs on child, early and forced marriages,” President Hichilema said.
“Meeting very important.As you may wish to note that ending child marriages is among the top priorities for my government, as it will ensure our
Young people’s equitable participation in the development of this country. I, therefore, would like to pledge my Government’s total support towards the fight against this worrying vice in our country the vision of my government on child development and child welfare is “a society where children survive, thrive and reach their full potential.” therefore, my Government will, by all means, strive to create an enabling environment that protects and promotes the rights and obligations of children and foster their participation in the governance system,” he stated.
The Head of State said the New Dawn Government’s commitment to the development and welfare of children is demonstrated by the speed at which it actualised the legal framework for children was assented to.
“This is the children’s code Act no. 12 of 2022. As you may be aware, this act does not only realise Zambia’s obligations under international and regional children’s rights instruments, but, is also a comprehensive legislation in the sense that it spells out almost all stakeholders’ duties and responsibilities in realising children’s rights including the parents or guardians and the children. As the African Union champion on ending child marriages, I have used this privilege to fight the vice beyond Zambia’s am, therefore, delighted that the parliamentary caucus on children has come up with such a great initiative of having a dialogue with the house of chiefs on ending child marriages,” he said.
President Hichilema urged stakeholders to work together in order to ensure that child marriage is brought under control in Zambia.
“Traditional leaders continue to play a key role in averting the practice by raising awareness among their subjects on the consequences of child marriages. I am, therefore, very optimistic that the dialogue between these two very important institutions will result in meaningful resolutions that will help supplement government’s efforts in ending child marriage. Child development and child welfare cuts across all sectors. Therefore, let me call upon all duty bearers including chiefdoms, united nations agencies, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, faith and community based organisations, as well as the private sector, to work together in order to ensure that child marriage is brought under control in Zambia,” he said.