Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has told the National Assembly that the Marriages Bill is stuck in the Senate over issues of regulating lobola.

According to the Marriages Bill, issues of payment of lobola cannot block a consenting couple from registering their marriage.

However, the Chiefs are of the view that lobola should be a condition if one wants to wed.

The Chiefs say making lobola optional is against the African culture and customs to which they are custodians.

Making lobola mandatory is against international conventions

Speaking in the National Assembly Ziyambi said making lobola mandatory is against international conventions which the country is a signatory.

‘’Thank you, Mr Speaker Sir. On the last part, indeed the Bill has been in the Senate for quite some time. When the Bill was passed here, the Honourable Senators were of the opinion that and they are very strong about it that we must legislate for the payment of lobola.

‘’Our position is that it is against several international conventions that we signed. It even contravenes the Constitution and the legal age of majority.

“Once you indicate that you cannot marry without paying lobola, it means that that particular woman is an adult minor, she cannot make a decision on her own.

‘’What I have said is that our officials must engage the Chiefs so that we can reach common ground on that particular issue. I was not of the opinion that it should pass in that form and we take it here and allow a disagreement but to respect each other so that we negotiate and come to a common position, that we all agree, that is the position,” he said.

The Marriages Bill is seeking to replace the current Customary Marriages Act [Chapter 5:07] and the Marriage Act [Chapter 5:11].

There will be one Act of Parliament governing marriages in Zimbabwe and the new Act will also update the law in line with the Constitution.

Among issues that will also be tackled by the Marriages Act is the issue of child marriages. Child marriages are on the rise in Zimbabwe.