Mashonaland Central tops in child marriages: Zimstat

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Harare (New Ziana) -At least 133 455 women aged 20 –24 years in the country, representing 16.2 percent of the total, went into union before reaching 18 years of age, with Mashonaland Central province topping in the cases, data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) shows.

This is contained in the Zimstat preliminary results of the 2022 housing and population census which it conducted from 21 to 30 April this year.

Child marriage is widely recognized as a violation of children’s rights and is also a direct form of discrimination against the girl child.

“The proportion was higher at 22.7 percent in rural areas, as compared to 7.2 percent in urban areas,” Zimstat said.

In terms of provinces, it was noted with great concern that Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West provinces recorded high numbers of underage marriages.

“The proportion was highest, standing at 28.9 percent and 22.8 percent in Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West provinces respectively.

“It was comparatively lower, standing at 2.6 percent and 7.7 percent in Bulawayo and Harare Metropolitan provinces,” read part of the report.

Zimstat also brought out that 1 percent of women aged 20-24 years were in union before the age of 15 years.

“The proportion was higher, at 1.6 percent in rural areas as compared to 0.3 percent in urban areas.

“The proportion was 2.2 percent for Mashonaland Central province, 1.7 percent for Manicaland province and 0.3 percent for Matabeleland South province.”

On 27 May this year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa signed into law the Marriages Act that prohibits the marriage of minors under the age of 18.

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