Solemnised marriages face cancellation
2012 July 17 07:45:02 | 1938 Views
Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede yesterday said marriages that were solemnised by at least 716 marriage officers that have gone underground face cancellation while mass weddings have been banned.
The RG said the marriage officers had gone underground after his office introduced a new register to flush out bogus officers.
He said those who had failed to turn up could be fake and the marriages they solemnised in the past would be cancelled.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Mr Mudede said his office had also banned mass weddings and that marriage officers would be banned from upgrading marriages.
Mr Mudede said since the introduction of the new marriage register in March this year, his office had not received any reports of marriages of convenience.
â€œA total of 1 253 marriage registers have been issued to marriage officers so far, yet we had 1 966 marriage officers in our marriage register,â€ he said.
â€œThe figures speak for themselves. It means the difference might have been pseudo marriage officers.
â€œWe still challenge them to come forward if they are pure (marriage) officers to be free from this blemish. As for now, no one has come out in the open.â€
Mr Mudede said some marriage officers operated when they ceased being marriage officers long back or were on suspension from their organisations.
The RGâ€™s office unveiled new highly securitised marriage certificate and measures to curb marriages of convenience early this year. Mr Mudede said the new system had also dealt a blow on â€œrecklessâ€ marriage officers who were not remitting marriage certificates to the marriageâ€™s office at the RGâ€™s office.
â€œThose used to take peopleâ€™s money and keep heaps of certificates without surrendering them have been dealt a hammer by the new requirements,â€ he said.
â€œWe want sanity in the countryâ€™s marriage systems and we are glad it is coming.
â€œWe are also working hard to reduce fraud which involves marriage officers and those being solemnised.â€
The new marriage certificates are computerised and serialised to curb multiple marriages, marriages of convenience and immigration fraud.
Heads of denominations, Mr Mudede said, had become strict in giving authority to marriage officers.
â€œAll heads of denominations have been asked to bring an updated list of marriage officers, thereby allowing us to update our marriage officersâ€™ register,â€ he said.
On mass weddings, Mr Mudede said: â€œThis happened mainly in churches whereby you would find 20 couples wedding at the same time.
â€œThis is treacherous because one should not issue many marriage certificates at the same time.
â€œMany reverends were just doing it for monetary benefits and this should stop.â€He said reverends and pastors had no power to upgrade marriages.
â€œThere are two statutes in the country on marriages. One statute governs civil marriages and this type of marriage is monogamous, popularly known as Chapter 37 and the other statute governs customary marriages (polygamous),â€ he said.
â€œWhat has been happening is that reverends had been upgrading those married under the customary marriage to change into a civil marriage.
â€œNo one has the power to upgrade what has been passed by Parliament and reverends should not impose situations on citizens.â€
Foreigners, mostly those from Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, enter into marriages of convenience and marry more than one wife using different names to secure Zimbabwean citizenship or residence permits. In most marriages of convenience, women are lured with money or property.
A foreigner who intends to marry a Zimbabwean is now required to produce an original non-marriage certificate from his or her country of origin.
Mr Mudede said to decongest the Central Registry, production of identity documents and civil registrations had resumed at the RGâ€™s offices in Kuwadzana and Highfield.
The offices were closed to pave way for renovations and security measures.
â€œOther registration offices in Harare include Market Square, Hatfield, Mabvuku and Mt Pleasant. Birth and death registrations can also be accessed at the Registrar Generalâ€™s offices situated at Harare Central and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals,â€ he said.
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