It is 2017 but we have we established from a post done on this page that old men are still marrying underage girls. Although the practice is rampant all over the world, there have been some significant strides made by countries to curb this problem.
Here in Kenya, there are laws that are helping to stop such men in their tracks. As we all know, ignorance is not a defence, I have compiled them here so that potential culprits know they are engaging in an illegal practice and will be liable for prosecution if arrested.
Here are the laws according to our constitution,
- Article 2 Sub Article (4) of The Constitution provides that any law or custom that is inconsistent with the Constitution is void. This, therefore, means that all laws and customs that involve marriages in Kenya have to go glove in hand with the constitution.
- Article 27 sub article (2) of the Constitution stipulates that equality includes the full enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. When you marry a young girl you deny her right to freedom, to education and so on.
3.Section 4 of The Marriage Act defines the age of marriage as 18 years. It goes on to define marriage as the voluntary union of a man and a woman whether in a monogamous or polygamous union and registered in accordance with this Act. I think the statements here pretty much stand for themselves. If they have not yet attained the age of 18 years please leave them alone.
4.Article 45 of the constitution in sub article (2) it states that every adult has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex based on the consent of the parties. The parties who enter into a marriage must also have the legal capacity to marry. In most child marriages, no one ever asks for the consent of the child despite the fact that she is the main player in the marriage.
5.Article 45 sub article (3) of the Constitution says Parties to a marriage are entitled to equal rights at the time of the marriage, during the marriage and at the dissolution of the marriage. Due to this inequality, the child also lacks economic empowerment that is enjoyed by other women who are older. She suffers from inequality because she is a married child as well.
6.Article 43 of The Constitution sub article 1(f) stipulates that every person has the right to Education. Marriage will definitely keep the young girl from school and you can imagine the myriad of opportunities that she will miss because of this as well.
- The Sexual Offences Act makes defilement an offense under Section 8 subsection (1) Defilement is an act by a person which causes penetration to a child. According to Kenyan laws, a marriage has to be consummated and by virtue of our laws, a child lacks the legal capacity to consummate a marriage as they have not attained the age of consenting for sex. Child marriages are, therefore, seen as defilement where these men should be prosecuted.
- Article 43 of the Constitution sub article (1) (a) stipulates that every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of health which includes the right to healthcare services, including reproductive health care. The reproductive systems and organs of children are not yet developed. When children are subjected to sex and childbearing, their reproductive systems get affected. Since children do not know much about sex they will have a higher prevalence in contracting sexually transmitted diseases from irresponsible husbands. They might also be required to get many children by their husbands and this could be too much for them.
- In article 21 sub article (3) of the Constitution, the state organs and public officers have the duty to protect the needs of the vulnerable in the society. Children fall into this group by virtue of their age and their inability to make sound decisions.
10.Article 20 sub article (4) states that while interpreting the bill of rights, a court, tribunal or other authority shall promote values that underlie a society based on human dignity, equality, equity and freedom. Marrying a child violates all of the above
There you go, being forewarned is being forearmed please let us keep away from our young girls.