Malawi's president Bingu Wa Mutharika has sent back a marriage bill to Parliament which would have given a nod for girls to marry at the age of 16. The country's Members of Parliament which has been dominated by Mutharika's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) passed the bill despite others challenging it.
Some Members of Parliament challenged the bill saying 16 was not the right age for marriage saying many girls were still not mature and still in school.
NGO’s and several other quarters also attacked the House for passing the bill and said the marriage age could have been either 18 or 21.
But the Malawi president had not assented the marriage bill and sent it back to Parliament for further debate.
Media reports in the country quoted a statement from Malawi Parliament as saying that the Bill number 13 of 2009 had been withheld by the president to allow for further review and consultations.
“This bill shall, therefore, be debated during the next meeting of the National Assembly, having regard to Section 73(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi,” said the statement.
The southern African country’s weekend paper of Malawi News said an NGO- Eye of the Child led by Executive Director Maxwell Matewere petitioned the president not to sign the bill into a law until further consultations.
Health officials in the country are also said to have been irked with the bill saying that if effected it would have adverse impact on mortality rate which were already high.