Zomba Social Welfare Office warns chiefs against facilitating child marriage


District Social Welfare Office in Zomba has condemned child marriages in the district and called on traditional leaders never to allow such marriages in their respective areas.

District Social Welfare Officer in Zomba, Christopher Ndaona condemned child marriages during interface meeting with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the district that deal with child rights and the meeting was funded by USAID.

He said every person that indulges in sex with children shall be brought to justice in the court of law.

Ndaona also warned parents and traditional leaders against facilitating child marriages saying the law will take its course on anyone facilitating such marriages.

The Social Welfare Officer observed that child marriages are on the increase in Zomba such that the district recorded 694 cases with 236 cases being registered at Traditional Authority Mwambo while 76 cases were recorded at Traditional Authority Malemia.

He said Social Welfare Office, civil societies organizations plus the police will collaborate to stop the malpractice in the district.

“If the law says having sex intercourse with a child is an offence then marrying a child or facilitating child marriages is equally an offence. We will ensure that anyone who indulge in sex with a child and those that facilitate child marriages face the law,” Ndaona added.

He also expressed worry over children that are sent back from school due to non payment of school fees and called on non-governmental organisations to introduce bursaries for the needy children to ensure they remain in school.

Representative of Civil Society network Organisations in Zomba, Pastor Saul Mateyu said child marriage is a big problem in the district that calls for an urgent intervention through intensified awareness on child rights and on protection against all forms of violence including child marriages and sex with minors.

Pastor Mateyu disclosed that 130 children are currently on bursary sponsored by non-governmental organisations working in Zomba such as Passion Center for Children, Future Vision International Ministries, Age Africa, Yodep, Safe etc.

He therefore called on the NGOs to collaborate to support needy children to advance their education other than dropping out to and becoming vulnerable to child marriages.