A Critical Analysis of Section 26 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe in Relation to Child Marriage: Key Insights for Zimbabwe’s Child Protection Practitioners

Authors: Anthony Musiwa Published date: 16-01-2018 Status: Published

The adoption of Section 26 in the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe, explicitly outlawing child marriage, marked an important and progressive development in the fight to end child marriage in Zimbabwe. This was further confirmed by the historical ruling in 2016 by the country’s Constitutional Court in the case of Mudzuru & Another v Minister of Justice & 2 Others ([2016] Z79/14 (CC)). However, evidence shows that a general lack of understanding by many people – lay and professional, young and elderly – of how to effectively leverage such legal developments in child protection work has, by default, resulted in many children continuing to fall prey to child marriage. Accordingly, this paper uses legal hermeneutics to critically analyse the legal and practical implications of Section 26 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Rooted in philosophical hermeneutics, legal hermeneutics focuses mainly on analyzing law statutes with the aim being to best interpret and understand the legal text. Thus, the discussion in this paper is largely descriptive, analytic and normative. Ultimately, the author highlights key insights and strategies for child protection interventions in Zimbabwe related to protecting children from child marriage, including prosecution of child marriage perpetrators and child rights advocacy.

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Corresponding author. Anthony Musiwa: asdenzel@gmail.com

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COPYRIGHT: © The UK Law and Society Association, 2018