This Marriages Bill, 2019, repeals and replaces the current Customary Marriages Act [Chapter 5:07] and the Marriage Act [Chapter 5:11]. There will be one Act of Parliament governing marriages in Zimbabwe and the new Act will also update the law in line with the Constitution. The following are the main Constitutional precepts which the Marriages Bill takes into account—
• gender equality (section 3(1)(g) of the Constitution);
• recognition of the rights of women, youths and children (section 3(2)(i)(iii) of the Constitution);
• the recognition of the rights of cultural groups (section 3(2)(i)(i));
• the preservation of cultural values and practices which enhance the dignity, well-being and equality of people (section 16(1));
• section 26 of the Constitution with respect to the requirement of free and full consent to marriage by the intending spouses; the ban on the pledging of children in marriage; the equality of rights and obligations of spouses during marriage and at dissolution; provision for the protection of any children of a marriage upon the dissolution of marriage whether by divorce or on death;
• the paramountcy of the best interests of the child (section 19(1) and 81(2) of the Constitution), a child being a person under the age of 18 years (section 81(1) of the Constitution);
• the right of any person who has attained the age of eighteen to found a family, not to be compelled to enter into marriage against their will and the prohibition of same sex marriages (section 78 of the Constitution);
• protection of children from sexual exploitation (section 81(1)(e);
• the supremacy of the Constitution which, in section 2(1), invalidates any law, practice, custom or conduct which is inconsistent with the Constitution.

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