Junior councillors dismissive of Marriage Act

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Ngaevarue Katjangua
Windhoek

The youth parliament has last week dismissed the Marriages Act that allows teenagers at the age of 18 to marry with ministerial approval. A clause in the Marriages Act (Act No.25 of 1961 as amended), makes it illegal for boys and girls under the age of 18 to marry, but makes an exception which gives the line minister the power to authorise a marriage involving a boy or girl underage if it is “desirable.”

The young members of parliament have learned about this law two weeks while listening to a statement by the Chairperson of the Law Reform and Development Commission, Yvonne Dausab on child marriages in Namibia.

The 42 youth parliamentarians, who are Grade 10 and 12 learners from all over the country, gathered in Windhoek from 24 to 26 May 2017 to conduct the first ever session of the Junior National Council in the National Council chambers.

The session was held under the theme “Parliament engages youth perspectives on the Sustainable Development Goals.”

In response, the Chairperson of the National Council, Margaret Mensah-Williams, in her closing statement on Friday said: “National Council would adopt the report of the junior session, including all the motions passed, which will then be taken up through the established structures.”

“The National Council aims to develop a generation of young people into politically aware and responsible citizens by introducing them early on in their lives to how laws are made and by extension also to the electoral process. Additionally we want them to understand the concept of separation of powers between the branches and levels of government,” Mensah-Williams said.

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