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    Friday, 9 November 2018

    Denounce Early Child Marriage

    The best parent any child can get is the society .In this case, the worst thing the society can do is neglecting its duty by letting the child be the parent. Sadly, each morning we wake up to skate on such thin ice considering the high prevalence of child marriages in Zimbabwe. According to Plan International, this social ill is defined as, “any marriage where at least one of the parties is under 18 years of age.”The Zimbabwe National Students Unions (Z.I.N.A.S.U) at Great Zimbabwe University stands firm to denounce such acts as they destroy the future of many potential leaders in society.
     Excruciatingly, 31 percent of girls are in dire straits and more can be witnessed if this social evil is left to breathe. Statistical data by Plan International elaborate that 4 percent of the above “girls” were married under 15 years of age. Furthermore, 60 percent of women aged between 18 and 24 have had sexual intercourse before the age of 18 years. Before sailing close to the wind it is quite sagacious to resort to self reflection and introspection. The eye should cross the river before the body. Each and every part of the society must stand firm to react before this epidemic turns to be a pandemic situation. The union believes unity is the solution when tackling such a problem.
    Efforts towards poverty eradication must be made by government. Economic instability has profoundly been a contributing factor to the upbringing of this animal called “child marriages” Putting into consideration the cases recorded in Mashonaland Central (50%), Mashonaland West (42%), Midlands (42%) and other provinces; there is need for the government to beat the clock. In one stroke, there is need to create an environment that can accommodate ones dream, reward sweat, and remunerate pain! This enables the biological parents, guardians and even the society at large to assist the child before light is replaced by darkness.
    Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”This only makes sense if the accessibility of education is a task upon every ones shoulder. The girls at risk of dropping out of education should be supported morally and financially. Introduction of a myriad scholarships and programs like Basic Education Module (BEAM) amongst others is a critical step. The churches, organisations and companies all have a role to play. The Great Zimbabwe University, Zimbabwe National Students Union (Z.I.N.A.S.U) believes that, “If you educate a girl child you have educated a nation.” The question is: What role should you play to deal with child marriages? One should be able to answer that question and strike while the iron is still hot. This role might lead to prevention, reduction of the rate; enlightenment amongst other unnamed factors .The only thing necessary for the rise of evil is for the good men to do nothing according to the words by the great man Edmund Burke.
    The existence of the legal sphere relating to marriage laws plays a crucial role to prevent and control child marriages. However these laws should be implemented, enforced and monitored without fail. The 2013 constitution specifically Section 78, 56 and 26, Domestic violence Act and Customary marriage Act are key when dealing with this cancer .The laws do not only focus on vulnerable children living on the diving board of child marriages but also those already swimming in the dead pool with issues like gender based violence amongst others. The judicial sector should hence act in total justice and transparency to make sure that these laws are followed. Tinotenda Gatawa the Chairman of the union believes that the consideration of the students by the state is a crucial step that determines the future. The child marriages should be seen as an attack of our tomorrow and a limitation if not barrier to our ambitions.
    The consideration of the above facts leaves one to conclude that a child’s life is like piece of paper in which every person leaves a mark. Therefore always make sure that you leave a positive and memorable mark as emphasized by Thandiwe Nkosa (Vice President) and Takudzwa Ngadziore (President) of the union that represent students. We all have a role to play so as to end child marriages in Zimbabwe. The word orphan should exist in a world without a society and not a biological parent. The full stop we use to mean the end of a sentence should also be used to mean the end of some issues like child marriages.

    Written by : Takudzwa Ngadziore :  President of Zimbabwe National Students Union (Great Zimbabwe University).

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