Chiefs Block Passage Of Lobola Law In Senate
Opposition to a clause in the Marriages Amendment Bill by traditional leaders in the Senate led by President of Chiefs Council Fortune Charumbira has hampered passage of the Bill in the Upper House of Parliament.
The Bill sailed through the National Assembly last year, but since then, it has been stalled in Senate after traditional leaders raised concern over a clause related to the payment of lobola (bride price).
Debate on the Bill had resumed in April this year, but there was no progress in finding common ground on Clause 16.
The contentiuos clause provides that payment of lobola could not be regarded as a barrier in solemnising marriage between two consenting adults if they satisfy other requirements of the law.
However, chiefs are having none of that, arguing that payment of bride price was a hallmark of marriage in customary unions.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told the National Assembly on Wednesday that he was giving negotiations the last chance.
He said the government would apply provisions of the Constitution regarding what happens should there be disagreements between the National Assembly and Senate.
This was after legislators raised concern about the delay in finalising the Marriages Amendment Bill given that it sought to outlaw child marriages.