Marriages Bill public hearings begin 

Source: Marriages Bill public hearings begin | The Herald 27 AUG, 2019

Marriages Bill public hearings beginCde Nduna

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter
Parliament yesterday started public hearings in Harare to solicit views on the Marriages Bill, which seeks to harmonise customary and statutory marriages, as well as decriminalise wilful transmission of HIV and Aids.

Chaired by Chegutu West legislator Cde Dexter Nduna, Team Four of the seven teams set up to conduct the hearings nationwide heard that recognising civil unions or partnerships was still a contentious issue, with most participants proposing either its complete removal or amendment to protect spouses in either type of marriage.

This comes as Cabinet recently ruled that the same section which sought to recognise civil unions or partnerships be struck off the Bill, arguing that it was not consistent with Zimbabwe’s cultural norms and values.

The contentious Section 40 (5) of the proposed Marriages Bill reads: “A civil partnership exists notwithstanding that one or both of the persons are legally married to someone else or are in another civil partnership.”

Speaking at the forum, Mrs Sheree Shereni of Precious Stones Women’s Foundation said while the whole Bill was worth supporting, this specific subsection relating to civil unions should be removed.

“We, together with 15 000 other signatories who petitioned Parliament about this Bill, oppose the inclusion of civil partnerships in the Bill,” she said.

Mrs Shereni argued that the section contradicted other sections in the Bill, particularly the one on bigamy, and promoted adultery since it recognised a civil union despite the fact that one was already in another union.

Other participants felt the term “civil partnerships” should be removed in its totality, arguing that it was shrouded in vagueness.

HIV and Aids activists who attended the hearings supported abolition of Section 79 (1) of the Criminal Codification and Reform Act on deliberate transmission of HIV, abolition of which is provided for under the proposed Marriages Bill.

Although some participants were not sure if decriminalisation of wilful transmission will not lead to increased cases of wilful transmission of the virus,

some participants had to explain that science cannot prove the direction of HIV transmission making it difficult to prosecute one for transmitting HIV to another.

“We are supporting decriminalisation of wilful transmission of HIV and Aids because currently, no one can prove scientifically who infected the other,” said Ms Likwa Chaka, a member of the Zimbabwe National Network for People Living with HIV and Aids.

Speaking after the consultations, Cde Nduna said once the public hearings were completed, the teams will compile a report, which will be submitted to Parliament for possible amendments.

Seven teams made up of members of four parliamentary committees from Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Women Affairs, Community and SME Development; Health and Child Care and the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development are conducting the hearings in all provinces up to Friday.

off the Bill, arguing that it was not consistent with Zimbabwe’s cultural norms and values.

The contentious Section 40 (5) of the proposed Marriages Bill reads: “A civil partnership exists notwithstanding that one or both of the persons are legally married to someone else or are in another civil partnership.”

Speaking at the forum, Mrs Sheree Shereni of Precious Stones Women’s Foundation said while the whole Bill was worth supporting, this specific subsection relating to civil unions should be removed.

“We, together with 15 000 other signatories who petitioned Parliament about this Bill, oppose the inclusion of civil partnerships in the Bill,” she said.

Mrs Shereni argued that the section contradicted other sections in the Bill, particularly the one on bigamy, and promoted adultery since it recognised a civil union despite the fact that one was already in another union.

Other participants felt the term “civil partnerships” should be removed in its totality, arguing that it was shrouded in vagueness.

HIV and Aids activists who attended the hearings supported abolition of Section 79 (1) of the Criminal Codification and Reform Act on deliberate transmission of HIV, abolition of which is provided for under the proposed Marriages Bill.

Although some participants were not sure if decriminalisation of wilful transmission will not lead to increased cases of wilful transmission of the virus, some participants had to explain that science cannot prove the direction of HIV transmission making it difficult to prosecute one for transmitting HIV to another.

“We are supporting decriminalisation of wilful transmission of HIV and Aids because currently, no one can prove scientifically who infected the other,” said Ms Likwa Chaka, a member of the Zimbabwe National Network for People Living with HIV and Aids.

Speaking after the consultations, Cde Nduna said once the public hearings were completed, the teams will compile a report, which will be submitted to Parliament for possible amendments.

Seven teams made up of members of four parliamentary committees from Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Women Affairs, Community and SME Development; Health and Child Care and the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development are conducting the hearings in all provinces up to Friday.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 1
  • comment-avatar
    Mukanya 3 months ago

    Civil partnership!! Chihure