Burundi has issued an ultimatum that all unmarried couples have until the end of the year to tie the knot to show patriotism and help protect women.
The order was signed into law by President Pierre Nkurunziza in May. His government insists a legal document recognising a marriage helps protect women and their children, especially when it comes to issues such as inheritance.
The government also said the order had been issued to help “moralise” the country.
Terence Ntahiraja, interior ministry spokesman, told the AFP last May that Burundi was facing a population explosion, which he blamed on “illegal marriages”, polygamy, bigamy and “hundreds of schoolgirls getting pregnant”.
He said church and state-sanctioned weddings were the solution and were a patriotic duty. President Nkurunziza has been urging Burundians to show their love for each other and their country by getting married.
According to a report by Al Jazeera, government officials have now started organising mass weddings as a way of enacting the president’s orders.