Child marriages rife in Luangwa

Luangwa District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) Veronica Mubanga says the constitution of Zambia should be amended to provide for a clause to punish parents who deliberately fail to take their children to school.

Ms Mubanga disclosed that some parents in her district withdraw young girls from school and marry them off in order for them to gain some income when they charge the pride price.

She said boys are equally stopped from attending classes and are engaged in fishing activities in order to earn income for their families.

Ms Mubanga who was the only female to submit before the Chomba led Legal and Justice Sector Reforms Commission disclosed that most parents in Luangwa prefer short term gain from their children.

She said child marriages in Luangwa district were common among both boys and girls who are groomed to believe that they needed to marry early in order to either give their parents revenue or keep their parents.

The DEBS noted that cases of child marriages can only be addressed if a law was enacted to compel all parents and guardians to educate their children especially that there was free primary education in Zambia.

She said all government schools in her district provided free primary education and provided books and other learning materials to all pupils.

Ms Mubanga said despite government introducing free primary education in the country, Luangwa district still records low turnout of pupils in primary grades because of fishing activities and child marriages.

Luangwa District is located on the confluence of the Luangwa and Zambezi Rivers in Lusaka province.

Residents of Luangwa which was formerly called Feira until 1964 are predominantly fishermen because the district lies along the two rivers.

They have lived with the challenges of animal-human conflict for many years as it is also a Game Management area.