The Need for legislation to regulate marriages contracted under customary law in Zambia
Kalela, Mwenya Esther
Customary law regulates the largest section of the Zambian population. This is on the premise that the majority of Zambian's are married under customary law. However, there is no statute codified to cover disputes that arise from marriages contracted under customary law in Zambia. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women suggested that the government of Zambia study the possibility of codifying customary laws so that those found to be in violation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women could be reformed or abolished. It recommended that the customary marriage law be reformed so that customary marriages were registered, in order to give women married under that law equal rights and benefits with men. The aim of this essay was to discuss the need for legislation to regulate marriages contracted under customary law in Zambia. This was done by desk research, relevant published and unpublished literature were consulted which included case law as well as other pieces of legislation. The objective of the essay was to examine the need for legislation to regulate marriages contracted under customary law in Zambia in light of the fact that currently there is no statute codified to cover disputes that arise from marriages contracted under customary law in Zambia. From the research conducted, it was concluded that there are common customs and practices on marriage and divorce that are common to all the 73 ethnic groupings in Zambia, therefore it is possible to harmonize and codify them into statute. It was also found that most of these customs and practices do not promote universal human rights and are discriminatory towards women. It is recommended that there should be legislation to regulate marriages contracted under customary law as it will result in the integration of positive aspects of common customs and practices among the seventy three ethnic groupings in Zambia which will represent the values of the Zambian people through codification in statute. Once these values are codified there will be lesser chance of the culture of the Zambian people being lost. However it is important to note that certain customs and practices which have long been held to be fundamental to the Zambian marriage and divorce but have since become detrimental to the positive growth of the Zambian society may be removed.
Marriages-Law and legislation--Zambia , Customary Law-Zambia , Legislation-Zambia