Child marriage is common in Machinga, but Machinga CCAP has vowed never to officiate any marriage involving children, saying the practice is in conflict with Laws of Malawi.
The Moderator of Machinga CCAP, the Rev. Albert Bula said child marriage was common in the district at the expense of girls who he claimed are married off at ages ranging from 12 to 17, provided they reach puberty.
The Rev. Bula was speaking in Machinga this during a Sunday service which included Holy Communion, induction of church elders and deacons and wedding officiating.
I don’t want the Church to get into conflict with the country’s laws, he said, and called on church elders to crosscheck ages of would-be brides to confirm whether they were of marriage-age.
The Rev. Bula called on parents to encourage children to concentrate on education rather than taking early marriage a priority.
Child marriage mostly involving girls is common in Machinga. The practice is a serious violation of child rights and impacts negatively on girls’ health and education.
For instance, in 2015 no girl sat for Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations at Kachele School in Machinga as all four girls who registered for the examinations dropped out of school due to pregnancy and early marriages.
Most young people below 18 years do not legally officiate their marriages as parents, relatives and traditional leaders endorse them as wife and husband irrespective of their legal limitations.
Machinga District Social Welfare Officer, Bertha Mijoya, said the marriage age was 18 years and above.
“Although child marriage is common in Machinga, it is still against the law,” Mijoya said and commended the church for taking the lead to condemn the practice.
Source: Malawi News Agency � MANA