By A Correspondent- The government is prepared to compromise and agree to the inclusion of the payment of lobola as a legal requirement for registering customary unions in the proposed integrated Marriages Act.
This comes after traditional leaders, in the Senate, rejected a clause in the Bill which stipulates that payment of lobola must not be used as a prerequisite for a couple to register any marriage.
The clause says only the couple can make any conditions for marriage and that no one else can grant or withhold permission for a union.
Chiefs, however, insist that bride price was the hallmark of any customary union and have therefore steadfastly rejected the government’s argument that lobola could not be used as an obstacle in solemnising marriage by two consenting adults.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi steered debate on the Bill again in the Senate on Wednesday, proposing that the Bill be passed, capturing the concerns of the traditional leaders over the lobola issue.
Ziyambi said continued deferment of the passage of the Bill over just one point had the effect of prejudicing the nation of other pertinent benefits in the proposed law such as criminalising child marriage which has been a menace in society of late.
Following a protracted debate, there was no headway resulting in another adjournment of the debate on the Bill.
The adjournment would now mean that the Bill would be re-tabled during the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament.
The Constitution provides that where the Senate and National Assembly disagrees on a Bill, it is the view of the National Assembly that will prevail, but Ziyambi said he was reluctant to take that route.