POLICE in Nakonde have arrested the man who allegedly married off his 13-year-old daughter to a 21-year-old man. And it has turned out that the girl is three months pregnant.
Police have also arrested the newly-wed man for allegedly marrying an underage girl.
Muchinga Province Deputy Police Commissioner Bonny Kapeso confirmed the arrests to the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) in Chinsali yesterday.
Police in the company of the World Vision Zambia (WVZ) staff made the arrests following receipt of reports from the Ministry of Education that a man of Mulizye village had married off his underage daughter.
Mr Kapeso said the mother of the girl escaped the dragnet and disappeared in the nearby bush but police are still looking for her.
He named the arrested parent as Bernard Sinkolongo of Mulizye village in Chieftainess Waitwika’s area of Nakonde and his son-in-law as Kenny Sinkala of the same village.
Mr Kapeso said police are still investigating the matter.
Meanwhile, the 13-year-old girl, who was a Grade 6 pupil at Mulizye Primary School, told ZANIS at Nakonde police station yesterday that she loves the man and wants to remain in the marriage.
The girl, who was married off at a ceremony last Saturday, said she does not want to go back to school.
The girl said her parents were given one goat, two chickens, two hoes, four metres of cloth (chitenge), 60 litres of a traditional drink (munkoyo) and K60 cash.
And Chieftainess Waitwika of the Namwanga people of Nakonde has condemned the marrying off of the underage girl.
Chieftainess Waitwika told ZANIS in an interview yesterday that the law should firmly deal with parents who withdraw girl children from school and marrying them off.
She is disappointed that such a thing could come from Mulizye village where she personally spent time educating parents on the need not to marry off their young daughters.
And Society for WomenAgainst HIV/AIDS in Zambia (SWAAZ) coordinator for Muchinga and Northern Provinces, Maggie Siame said in a 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.
She 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organisation is following up a similar case in Isoka district where a Grade 7 pupil of Mutondu Primary School has been withdrawn from school and married off.
Nakonde District Education Board Secretary Stanley Mwambazi on Wednesday said 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.
Mr Mwambazi said that it is common in Nakonde district for parents to marry off their young children.
He, however, warned parents of the 13-year-old girl of Mulizye Basic School that the law would not spare them.
Mr Mwambazi said the Ministry of Education, in conjunction with the Forum for African Women Educationalists in Zambia the Campaign for Female Education and Chieftainess Waitwika is working restlessly to sensitise villagers and ensure child marriages come to an end. -ZANIS.