Malawi’s Minister of Gender, Children, Social Welfare and Disabilities Patricia Kaliati has revealed that government has proposed 18 as the minimum marriage age for girls in the current review which is ready for Cabinet approval before it is taken to Parliament.
Currently, the minimum age is at 13 with consent from parents or guardians.
Kaliati disclosed this to journalists on Thursday at Kanongola Primary School in Salima after presiding over this year’s celebrations for the International Day for the Girl Child and the Launch of the ‘Ending Child Marriages Campaign in Malawi’.
Said Kaliati: “Government is taking serious steps towards making sure that we end child marriages and in view of this, we have stepped up efforts to review the marriage age and come up with a suitable age that will allow our girls to go far with their education.
“As of now, the Cabinet committee has already recommended that the minimum marriage age should go up to 18 years and this will be taken to full Cabinet before it is taken to Parliament.”
She also said as a way of ensuring that girls and other children are attending school, the law is going to punish all parents who send the children to sell merchandise for negligence.
In his speech, chairperson of the End Child Marriage Campaign Task-force, MacBain Mkandawire said speedy constitutional amendment of the provision on marriage age will help the campaign to achieve its objectives.
As part of their efforts to end child marriages and school dropouts by girl children in her area, Traditional Authority (T/A) Mwanza in conjunction with her chiefs said they have come up with by-laws to check the malpractice.