Home » Human Rights » Zimbabwe Tops in Child Marriages, Says the African Union

ZIMBABWE is among Africa’s leading countries when it comes to child marriages, an African Union (AU) official has said.

Cisse Mariama Mahomed, AU’s coordinator of the African Committee of Experts on the rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) told a meeting with government and civic society officials that the continental body has done a study that has revealed these disturbing statistics.

Mahomed is part of a delegation from the AU pushing authorities in Harare to launch a campaign against child marriages.

“Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Declaration on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child known as the African Charter on the rights of children, and we are grateful that this country adopted the Charter with no reservations.

“The Charter was adopted (by the AU) in 1990 and came into force in 1999. There is a provision within the Charter which requires that state parties should take everything possible to prevent child marriages,” Mariama Mahomed said.

She revealed that Zimbabwe along with Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Mali, Nigeria, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Niger and Chad had the highest prevalence of child marriages.

“We have carried a study and realised that child marriages are still high in Africa and Zimbabwe ranks among the top ten on the continent,” she said.

The AU official said Zimbabwe would launch the campaign against child marriage in April this year adding the AU is prepared to work with civic society organisations in the country on the programme.

“We will work with civic society organisations because they are our eyes and ears on the ground.

“We would like to work with and we are happy with your commitment to the promotion and protection of children and we are also expecting your reports to the AU on these issues and looking forward to you being part of the campaign,” she said.

President Robert Mugabe has been accused of paying lip-service to the issue of child marriages after he seemed to support the behaviour of Apostolic sects, particularly the Johanne Marange sect which encourages child marriages.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the State of the World’s Children’s Report (2015), the prevalence of child marriage indicates that Mashonaland Central leads with 50%.

In second place is Mashonaland West 42%, Masvingo 39%, Mashonaland East 36%, Midlands 31%, Manicaland 30%, Matabeleland North 27%, Harare 19%, Matabeleland South 18% while Bulawayo has the least prevalence with about 10%.

Source : New Zimbabwe