By Augustine Kambuzi Banda,
Chiefs in Mzimba has bemoaned the increase of underage marriages in the country which they have said hinders girl’s education.
This was revealed during field visit which Radio Tigabane conducted in the area of Traditional Authority Chindi which aimed at assessing causes of HIV contraction amongst young mothers with sponsorship from Christian Aid.
Speaking in an interview with Radio Tigabane Muluzana Arnold Kaweche Phiri confirmed that in his area there are high cases of underage marriages.
Muluzana Kaweche Phiri said it was worrisome that many underage girls drop out of school and marry yet their marriages do not last long.
“It is very sad to see many young mothers in my community who got married very young and now they are back from their husband and poverty is hitting them”, Said Phiri.
When he was asked as to why there are high cases of early marriages in his community Muluzana Kaweche blamed women who initiate girls who undergo (Chinamwali) ritual which he said misguide girls.
“I have realized that this ritual (Chinamwali) somehow misguide our children because they are told that they are grown up like their mothers and that they can handle men in bed”, said Phiri.
Mulumuzana Kaweche Phiri said the solution to mitigate cases of early marriages is to end some cultural practices which hinders girl’s education.
“I think the way forward is to revisit our customs especially those which undermines girls right to education like (Chinamwali) which exposes girls to men that they are ripe for marriage”, Said Phiri.
In an exclusive interview with Mphatso Zimba who got married at the age of 16 from group village head man Mulumuzana Arnold Kaweche Phiri said she failed to write her standard seven final examination because she reached puberty stage.
“I was locked up in a house for 7 days to undergo (Chinamwali) ritual this made me to drop out of school
I was told that now am old enough to get married and I got married but now am divorced which a child”, she added.
Phycologist, Ndumanene Devline Silungwe from St John of God in a radio program aired on Radio Tigabane said young mothers face psychosocial and emotional problems which traumatizes them for their entire life.
“Young mothers face life long psychosocial disadvantage which denial them freedom and personal development.
They spend much time taking care of their kids which becomes a burdens to their life and because they are too young to nurse their children they end up hating them”, he added
Mzimba is one of largest district in the country where cases of early marriages are rampant.