Some members of Parliament (MPs) have promised to vote for the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill that partly seeks to end child and early marriages in the country.
This was disclosed on Thursday at a dinner in Lilongwe hosted for some selected parliamentary committee chairpersons and their members, which was attended by, among others, officials from the United Nations (UN) Women in Malawi and Hivos, a development and human rights organisation.
Speaking at the event, Non-Governmental Organisation-Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN) chairperson Emma Kaliya said after civil society organisations (CSOs) and government had coordinated much in tabling issues that will be in the best interests of all Malawians through the bill, the final responsibility of enacting the law is with the parliamentarians.
In discussions that ensued, most parliamentarians pointed out that they had been armed with vital information and are leaning towards voting for the bill, particularly after experts do their homework of refining and clarifying some recommendations in the bill.
They also said they would live up to their unique role of not only enacting the law but also ensuring that all laws passed are adhered to.
“I think I would pass the bill, after making the amendments we have been discussing tonight,” said Mangochi South legislator Lillian Patel who is chairperson of the State Corporations and Commissions Parliamentary Committee.
On her part, Balaka West MP Patricia Shanil Dzimbiri remarked: “We have had an enlightening time here. The presentations and the debate have given us food for thought and I would vote for this bill.”
In his remarks, Nkhata Bay Central parliamentarian Raphael Mhone said people in his constituency are directly affected by issues in the bill.