With reports of the Marriage Bill of 2019 being before Parliament as it deliberates whether or not to pass it into an Act, Social Media was thrust into hysteria over the Bill.
Yet though celebrated by quite a few, it would seem that the greater part of the masses was and still is against the proposed Bill of 2019.
As it has been established, the frenzy is not all about the other pre-existing sub Acts that is, that of the 18 years minimum age of Majority and equality of customary marriage and the marriage under the current Act often referred to as Chapter 5:11.
Questions and in some cases anger have been raised over the proposed bill as it has not been taken as a move that protects marriages.
As usual, experts and so called experts have added their interpretation of legal matters and their opinions into the fray. With the fog around the Bill not yet completely gone, it has been established that the Bill has somehow given hope of protection for the ‘small houses’.
Furthermore, the Marriage Bill in a way decriminalizes relationships outside the present officially recognized marriages in Zimbabwe. With regards to the legalization of civil unions outside marriage, spouses do not have the liberty to sue their ‘rivals’.
Of concern to monogamous unions is the issue of possible lawful recognition of civil unions outside of marriage as this somehow promotes polygamy.
Fear over the matter also lies in the possibility that children from the initial formal union will bear the brunt of poverty once their parent is involved in an additional civil union, whether married or not, has to share their assets with their new civil union partner.
On the other hand, those that have celebrated the coming of the Bill include women that were in marriages referred to as ‘kuchaya mapoto.’ To them, though this form of marriage has culturally not been upheld. They now stand the chance of being protected should their partner depart from the union or from the living.
There were also those that took the Bill as a way to weaken importance of official marriages as civil partnerships are considered way cheaper. They went on to predict that should the Bill be passed, 20 years from now the majority of unions will be civil partnerships over customary marriages.
Some sections took the Bill as reverse psychology claiming that the legalization of civil partnerships takes away the excitement thereby more people will stand solely on their official marriage unions. Moreso, related sections interpreted this as a move to scare men from side relationships as they would have greater risk of losing their assets twice-fold.
Social media, the home turf for conviviality, did not disappoint in having a bout of the outrageous and the hilarious. Peddled around was advice such as the need to introduce the ‘small house’ to the wife and confer her the status of deputy wife.
Nonetheless, the fate of many marriages and livelihood of children is dependent on the Marriage Bill of 2019. Upon departure from this argument, certain questions should be thought through.
If the Bible is the basic blueprint for most of the laws governing the nation, does the Marriage Bill not function as a step further away from the Bible in terms of Christian marriage monogamy ?