By ALICE NACHILEMBE
Technology and Science Minister Felix Mutati has implored traditional leaders to take stiffer action against any parent who will marry off their underage children.
And a Catholics Priest in Lunte has appealed to married couples to report Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases to the police and avoid waiting until lives are lost.
Mr Mutati said this has been one of the causes of underdevelopment and poverty in Zambia.
Speaking as guest of honor at the marriage of Sub-Chief Chisheta’s daughter at St Leo the Great Catholic Church in Lunte yesterday, Mr Mutati said underage marriages were an eyesore to national development and that the scourge must be stopped forthwith.
He said parents’ insatiable appetite to marry off their children at a tender age must be curtailed as it comes with huge repercussions and that instead, children must be kept in school to better their future.
The Minister warned that he does not want to hear any more cases of child marriages in Lunte and that any parent doing so must be brought to book.
“You cannot exchange children with cows and goats in the name of getting married because the next things you will get are cases of GBV where they start fighting each other and this is because they go into marriage without understanding anything.
“I appeal to all traditional leaders here to ensure that people are married off properly like we have witnesses today,” he said.
And St Leo the Great Catholic Church Parish Priest Father Joseph Sampa said women have mostly been suffering silently in homes for fear that they would not survive without their abusive husbands but encouraged couples to report all forms of GBV, whether victims were men or women.
He said man and woman joined in holy matrimony must reflect the desire of Jesus Christ where the two worship together and raise their children to become responsible citizens in society.
He implored men to stop abusing their wives saying they are helpers whom God had left them with but also asked women to reflect true godliness than becoming the problem in the marriage.