CONSTITUTION WATCH 4/2016
[20th January 2016]
Veritas Wins Court Case Against Child Marriage
Constitutional Court Decides Marriage under 18 Unconstitutional
The Constitutional Court this morning delivered its long-awaited ruling on child marriage. The application to outlaw child marriage succeeded. This is a great day for gender equality, women’s rights and children’s rights and the fight against poverty..
The court’s order was:
1. The Application succeeds.
2. Section 22(1) of the Marriage Act [Chapter 5:11] is unconstitutional.
3. No person, male or female, in Zimbabwe may enter into any marriage, including an unregistered customary law union or any other union, including one arising out of religion or a religious rite, before attaining the age of eighteen (18).
This progressive decision is a mark that the Zimbabwe Constitutional Court is building up a body of constitutional jurisprudence which will also be quoted in other jurisdictions and should assist the Africa-wide campaign against child marriage.
Congratulations to the lawyer Tendai Biti who argued the case extremely well before the Bench of the Constitutional Court on January 14th 2015.
Well done to the applicants Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi for having the courage to describe their experiences of child marriage in affidavits for the court.
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