Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Minister confirms govt to outlaw polygamy in Malawi

By Nyasa Times Published: April 27, 2010

Government has drafted a marriage, divorce and family relations bill which will be presented to parliament to outlaw men from marrying more than one wife, Minister of Gender, Women and Children, Patricia Kaliati has confirmed.

Kaliati said the bill had passed cabinet committee on legal matters chaired by Minister of Justice and Constitution Affairs Prof Peter Mutharika and that it would be tabled in the National Assembly in September.

"What we want from this Marriage, divorce and family relation, we are trying to reduce the gender based violence. We just want to protect our children by protecting their marriages," said Kaliati on the Capital Radio Straight Talk.

On the controversy that polygamy will be illegal and as criticized by Muslim Association of Malawi, the Minister said: "In Tunisia, a Moslem country, they don't recognise polygamy. We have issues of HIV Aids and we need to protect our people."

She said when passed into law, there will be no retrospective criminalisation.

"Those who are already practising polygamy will maintain their polygamy marriages. If you are not married after this bill and you want to marry, immediately government will be asking you to go register.

"Even in divorces, if you want to divorce, government also recognises divorce and you will be getting a divorce certificate," she said.

"We don't want plastic men in this country," she said.

"Those who can pretend everything is well and in actual sense they are not. They just want to cheat this woman as if he loves this woman in the actual sense he doesn't love her, pretending [sic]," she said.

In an effort to promote equality between spouses, elements of the bill provide women to exercise their right to divorce a husband in circumstances of abuse and that during separation of the couple, sex will be prohibited.

"This bill, when there is separation, there is no sex. If sex will happen a man will be charged with rape," she said.

The law will stipulate that any man who marries another woman knowingly that he has another wife will be liable to jail for five years.

She also disclosed that government would introduce wills and inheritance and the child protection bill.

Kaliati also announced that government will be launching gender development index and assured that President Bingu wa Mutharika who introduced a 50-50 campaign for women in influential positions is geared to continue empowering women.

Straight Talk programme is aired on Capital Radio after 6pm news every Tuesday and Thursday and is presented by prolific broadcast journalist Brian Banda.

*PICTURE:  Kaliati being interviewed by Banda for Capital FM Radio Straight Talk programme.

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Source: Malawi news | NyasaTimes breaking online news source from Malaw


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