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The profanity of the Marriage Bill

29 Jul 2019 at 08:03hrs | Views
There has been total confusion surprise and total disgust over the Draft Marriages Bill, 2017 which is now called the Marriage Bill,which was recently thrown out by the parliament when the honourable minister of justice tried to smuggle it for debating and approval.

Its main objectives are highlighted in the preamble but the pervasive offending section 41 which defeats the purpose of the whole Act. protest has been raised regarding this particular object - the recognition of civil Partnerships. The Bill if approved will be a threat to the very existence of the marriage institution, particularly the rights flowing from the civil marriage sanctioned under the Marriage Act [ Chapter 5:11], which is monogamous. The Bill is so obscene as it affords rights and protection to "concubines" or "small houses" thereby eroding the monogamous nature of the civil marriage and would result in ladies or men targeting rich spouses for personal enrichment. The Bill is vague and embarrassing. It is contrary to public morale and an insult to the sanctity of the institution of marriage.

The Bill in section 41 gives sex partners equal right with the married partners. Recognising side chics or small houses as they are commonly known is a brainchild of immoral perpetrators who brings immorality in the otherwise perfect society of Zimbabwe.

The Bill removes all the threads of humanity and hits the institution of marriage below the belt. From reading of the Bill would inform one that it actually acknowledges the very existence of the civil marriage and cements its protection under Section 5 (1) which provides as follows: "A civil marriage is monogamous, that is to say, it is the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others and no person may contract any other marriage during the subsistence of a marriage under the general law."

Notwithstanding the above provision, Section 40 of the Bill prescribes the realisation of civil partnerships. The requirements for the existence of one are that, "both parties must be over the age of eighteen years; and (b) have lived together without legally being married to each other; and (c) are not within the degrees of affinity or consanguinity as provided in Section 7; and (d) having regard to all the circumstances of their relationship, have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis".

Clause 40 provides for relationships which, to make a clear distinction between them and proper marriages, have been termed "civil partnerships". Civil partnerships are the equivalent of what would be referred to under the general law as "common law marriages". Civil partnerships are not recognized as marriages as defined under this Bill but for the purpose of realizing justice between the parties to the partnership in terms of the Matrimonial Causes Act [Chapter 5:13] upon the dissolution of the relationship.

The parties to a civil partnership must be over 18 years of age, not within the prohibited degrees of relationship and, having regard to all the circumstances of the relationship, have lived together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis before their rights and obligations on the dissolution of the relationship can be determined in accordance with the Matrimonial Causes Act. Subclause (2) sets out the circumstances that may be taken into account in determining whether or not a civil partnership existed. Under subclause (3), no particular factor in relation to any circumstance may be regarded as necessary in the determination and the court making a determination may attach such weight to any factor as may be appropriate. Under subclause (4), because a civil partnership is not a marriage, it may exist notwithstanding that one or both parties are legally married to someone else or are in another civil partnership.

The requirements as set out above are clear. They allow a relationship to flourish and reward it despite the existence of the marriage which is subsisting. While a key is that for there to be a civil partnership parties must have lived together without being married to each other and must have a relationship of a couple living together on a genuine basis even if any of the parties is married. This is one of the essential requirements meant to be satisfied. It curbs or guards the "small houses" as raised by those who have protested. There must be in existence a real and clear intention to found a family and living as such as this would demonstrate genuineness. It does not say who should be serious in the relationship.

The mischief behind the above provision is to afford protection to women in particular, who engage in a civil partnership with their married spouses. Even where there is in existence a valid marriage under the Marriages Act [Chapter 5:11].

This state of affairs continues to obtain in cases were, for instance, the husband and wife married under the monogamous marriage [Marriages Act Chapter 5:11] separate The marriage remains extant, although on paper, but not in practice. It is these circumstances that the legislature has sought to afford the new partner some sought of protection. But the confusion is brought by the fact that the side kicks are given recourse despite a bigamous affair.

It works an injustice and hardship on the lady who entered into a marriage with an unfaithful partner yet she contributed towards the accumulation of property.

Indirectly, it would benefit the woman who is not married, who has not made meaningful contribution towards the property involved. It promotes people investing in side affairs only to surface after the termination of the evil civil partnership, yet they are just small houses who have been siphoning the funds from the married partner. The above reasoning is fortified by the considerations that are set out under Section 40 (2) of the Bill , which include: the duration of the relationship, the nature and extent of their common residence, the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life, the reputation and public aspects of the relationship. Certainly, these considerations ushers in potential abuse by "small houses. This makes the family break apart.

In the premise, one would assert that the Bill in introducing the concept of civil partnership is not in any way sanitising or protecting "small houses". They would not qualify under the stringent requirements as set out under Section 40 of the Bill read as a whole which would demand, among other things, for parties to have lived or stayed together on a genuine domestic basis; which would mean on a real and clear intention to found a family and living as such.

With "small houses" the man and woman live separately and without a clear intention of founding a family and living as such. In that regard, that is not what is contemplated.But the overall intention acknowledges and blessed side chics.

The Bill should not be allowed to pass parliament with such immoral section. The above reasoning is fortified by the considerations that are set out under Section 40 (2) of the Bill , which include: the duration of the relationship, the nature and extent of their common residence, the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life, the reputation and public aspects of the relationship. Certainly, these considerations do not elbow out any potential abuse by "small houses". The act is silent on which evidence will be accepted to prove staying together with a married man. one would aver that the Bill is introducing the concept of recognised small houses.

They would qualify under the stringent requirements as set out under Section 40. With "small houses" the man and woman live separately and without a clear intention of founding a family and living as such. In that regard, that is not any proof of intimacy makes the small house benefit from the act

Vazet2000@yahoo.co.uk

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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