-Police in Nakonde district of Muchinga Province have arrested a man for allegedly marrying off his underage daughter to a 21-year-old man.
Police have also arrested a 21-year-old man for allegedly marrying an underage girl.
Muchinga Deputy Police Commissioner, Bonny Kapeso, has confirmed the development to the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) in Chinsali today.
Mr Kapeso said following a report by the Ministry of Education in Nakonde District yesterday that a man of Mulizye village had married off his underage daughter, police, in the company of the World Vision Zambia (WVZ) staff, followed up the matter and arrested one of the parents and the husband of the girl.
Mr Kapeso said the mother of the girl escaped the drug net and disappeared in the nearby bush and police are still looking for her.
He named the arrested parent as Bernard Sinkolongo of Mulizye village in Chieftainess Waitwika’s area of Nakonde district and his in-law as Kenny Sinkala of the same village.
Mr Kapeso said police are still investigating the matter and the public will be informed later on the next action to be taken.
Meanwhile, the 13- year- old girl who was in Grade 6 at Mulizye Primary School told ZANIS at Nakonde police station this morning that he loves the man and wants to remain in the marriage.
The girl, who is three months pregnant and was married off at an organised ceremony, last Saturday, said she does not want to go back to school.
The named girl said her parents were given one goat, two chickens, two hoes, four metres of Chitenge material, 60 litres of munkoyo drink and K60 cash.
And Chieftainess Waitwika of the Namwanga people of Nakonde district has strongly condemned the marrying off of the under-age girl.
Chieftainess Waitwika told ZANIS in an interview today that the long arm of the law should firmly deal with the parents who are in the habit of withdrawing girl children from school and give them into marriage at a tender age.
She said she is disappointed that such a thing could come from Mulizye village where she personally spent time to educate the parents on the need not to marry off their young girls.
And Society for Women Against HIV/AIDS in Zambia (SWAAZ) coordinator for Muchinga and Northern Provinces, Maggie Siame, said in separate interview with ZANIS that her organisation is ready to take the girl to the transit home until she gives birth.
Ms Siame said after the girl has given birth she will be taken back to school.
Ms Siame has also disclosed that her organisation is following up a similar case in Isoka district where a Grade 7 pupil of Mutondu Primary School has been withdrawn from school and married off.
Yesterday, Nakonde District Education Board Secretary (DEBS,) Stanley Mwambazi, told ZANIS that a 13-year-old girl of Mulizye Primary School had been withdrawn from school and married off by her parents.
Mr Mwambazi said it is unfortunate that some children abruptly stop school and school authorities later on discover that their pupils were actually married off.
He lamented that some parents are too vulnerable and view their children as a source of wealth which is wrong and against the law.
The DEBS said that it is a common trend in Nakonde district for parents to marry off their young children.
He, however, warned the parents of the 13-year-old girl of Mulizye Basic School that the long arm of the law would not spare them.
Mr Mwambazi said the Ministry of Education in conjunction with FAWEZA and CAMFED as well as Chieftainess Waitwika were working restlessly to sensitise the villagers and ensure that early marriages come to an end.