One of the child marriage survivor, Tionge Mtambo, says schools lockdown has led to many girls with no option but entering into early and child marriages and others are pregnant, a development which is a crisis on its own more than COVID-19 pandemic.
Mtambo says COVID-19 has come to stay, people will leave with it, but these child marriages and pregnancies will not stay as they will be giving Government a lot of pressure on the readily available resources and miseries to the girls.
She thanked President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera for his good vision that Malawi cannot develop without the other saying Government has the enormous task of building a new Malawi enjoyed by all.
Speaking in an interview, Tionge Mtambo said Government must consider early and child marriages and pregnancies, a national crisis and preventions should be made in the same way as COVID-19 with strong punitive measures such as imprisonment.
Mtambo, who survived child marriage in 2011 to a -45 year old man prominent businessman to become his third wife after paying four cows in advance to take her blindly conniving with her grandmother, called on the Government of Dr. Chakwera to declare early and child marriages, a national crisis in Malawi just the same as what it did to COVID-19 by announcing the closure of all schools and colleges.
She asked President Dr. Chakwera to establish a National Presidential Taskforce to look into the crisis of early and child marriages and the impact it has brought to the nation and the developmental vision of building a new Malawi.
“Many girls will be out of school due to early and child marriages, others will be nursing babies and some have been infected with HIV/AIDS. What type of a new Malawi will be built out of this generation? Questioned Mtambo.
The child marriage survivor called for the need to establish District Taskforce to collect data for girls that have entered into child marriages and those that are pregnant and sets punitive measures saying doing so will make the generation to come, fearing from committing an offence of entering into child marriages.
Mtambo commended the Minister of Gender, Patricia Kaliyati for championing withdrawing of girls that have entered into child marriages to go back to school saying this is not enough, urging the Minister and Government to treat the issue as a national crisis with punitive measures.
She called on Government to have a special budget for these girls that have entered into marriages and are being withdrawn to go back to school, to give them something to do to support themselves and their babies as a matter of sustaining their daily life needs while they are going to school.
Mtambo challenged Government that failure to declare child marriages a national crisis, this generation of girls that have entered into child marriages and pregnancies with their new babies to be born, will pose a strong challenge towards achieving the vision 2063 agenda.