Different groups and individuals in the country have praised President Peter Mutharika for signing a constitutional amendment raising the legal marriage age to 18.
Parliament recently passed the amendment in their previous meeting following massive public outcry that something should be done quickly to curb the child marriages which are rampant in this land.
Men for Gender Equality (MEGEN) chairperson Marcel Chisi has thanked Mutharika for signing the amendment saying now people and courts will have the mandate to stop child marriages for girls to go further with their education.
“We thank the President for signing this law since without this challenges were many like girls were entering into the marriage prematurely without being stopped. This will also help to end the problems that girls face during and after giving birth,” said Chisi.
On her part, Senior Chief Kachindamoto of Dedza district said traditional chiefs have been finding it difficult to end child marriages but with coming of this law the job will be easy.
“It’s been difficult to make bylaws to end child marriages. We are happy that the President has signed this important law.
“A country which has educated people is easy to govern so this law will allow children to pursue further with their education,” she said.
Parliamentary Women Caucus chairperson Jessie Kabwila has said that now no parent will have the power to enter children into marriage at a younger age.
“That amendment is showing exactly the aspiration of Malawians that we are saying ‘No’ in totality to child marriage and the loopholes that were remaining of giving consents to parents are no longer there,” she says.
Malawi is one of the countries globally which have highest rates of child marriage as 47 percent of girls get married before the age of 18 which result in increase in deaths of mothers and babies at birth.
Before this amendment the laws gave girls the liberty to enter into a legal marriage at the age of 16.
The new law says that any person who enters into a marriage knowing that the marriage is illegal is committing an offence which attracts five years imprisonment or a fine of over K100,000.