Tanzania: Legislators Advocate for Amendment of Marriage Act

  • 0


Tanzania’s parliament has recently closed ranks in calling for an overhaul of the marriage act to raise the minimum age of marriage to girls so as to prevent child marriages.

Members of the National Assembly from both sides of the political divide were unequivocal in their calls for the government to bring in a bill to remove clauses in the Marriage Act of 1971 which allow under 18 years old girl child to marry.

Marriage Act of 1971 sets the minimum age at 18 for boys and 15 for girls with parental consent. It also permits both girls and boys to marry at 14 with a court’s permission.

They closed ranks behind CCM Special Seat lawmaker, Kiteto Koshuma who blocked the budget of the Ministry of the Constitution Affairs and Judiciary by holding the salary of the minister until the government says when the bill would be brought in Parliament.

The Member of Parliament said she was not satisfied with efforts by the state to prevent child marriages, noting that proposed review in the Education Act would not be helpful as it will not touch girls who are out of school.

She looked more disturbed with an intervention by the Attorney General, George Masaju who said the government construction of secondary schools in every ward, removal of and proposals for reviewing the Education Act to ban marriages for school girls and boys showed commitment of the government to uphold the dignity of girls.”Not all children go to school.

The education act will not touch those who do not go to school,” she said.

The Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Hamis Kigangwalla acknowledged there is a contradiction in laws of the land on the minimum age for girls to marry.


He said the government would bring in a bill for a review of the Marriage Act to remove clauses which discriminate against children. The Chadema Member of Parliament for Bunda Urban constituency in Mara Region, Esther Bulaya supported her colleague MP, saying discriminatory laws also contributed to child pregnancies.

Other MPs who supported the call for a review of the Marriage Act include Ridhiwani Kikwete (Chalinze, CCM) and Peter Msigwa (Iringa Urban, Chadema). The Minister for Constitutional Affairs and Judiciary said the government has re-initiated a white paper process to collect views of the people on the changes to prevent child marriages. He said the government had initiated the white paper process but stopped it in 2014 as it collided with the process for new Constitutional making.

According to him, it was expected that people would also contribute views on changes to the marriage act to curb underage marriages but very few people had contributed their view on the area.

The Minister said while the government was re-initiating the white paper process, it would come with proposals for a review of the education law for the same purpose as interim measures.


How to Get the Most Out of Reference Checks
Prev Post How to Get the Most Out of Reference Checks
Ugandans Warned against Poor Grain Storage
Next Post Ugandans Warned against Poor Grain Storage

Leave a Comment: