Saturday, May 11, 2019

LGBT and Child Marriages banned in new Amendment Bill

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Cabinet has approved the Marriages Amendment Bill, which will see the repeal and replacement of the Customary Marriages Act (Chapter 5:07) and the Marriages Act (Chapter 5:11) with a new law which in line with the constitution will prohibit child and same sex marriages, among other things.

Briefing the media after the 15th Cabinet meeting in Harare this morning, the Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Cde Prisca Mupfumira, who stood in for her Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services counterpart, Cde Monica Mutsvangwa, spelt out the objectives of the new law on the cards.

“The objectives of the Bill are inter alia [to] ensure gender equality; recognise the rights of women, youth and children; recognise the cultural groups and the preservation of cultural values and practices which enhance the dignity, wellbeing and equality of the people; provide for free and full consent to marriage by the intending parties; to accord the primacy of the best interests of the child, prohibit samesex marriages; and recognise the supremacy of the constitution which invalidates, any law, practice, custom and conduct inconsistent with the constitution,” she said.

The cabinet also approved the Coroner’s Office Bill, which seeks to help safeguard human lives through facilitating specialised investigations of preventable deaths and the identification of deceased persons.

“The country has previously relied on expatriates for specialised investigations required to conclude such cases, which arrangement has now become unsustainable. In more precise terms, the Bill will establish an efficient coroner system to look into the cause of death in the following circumstances, among others: violent, sudden and unexpected deaths, deaths that occur without a medical doctor’s attention; surgical operation table deaths, and deaths while in jail, police custody or other central authority control,” the Minister said.

The post cabinet briefing also touched on several issues which include relief and reconstruction efforts in cyclone hit Manicaland province, the fuel situation which is expected to improve going into the weekend, as well as the update on the 2019 Kasane Elephants Summit which culminated in a common understanding among KAZA Trans-Frontier countries in the conservation and management of elephants.