Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has told Parliament that there was nothing sinister in coming up with the Civil Partnership Clause in the Marriages Bill, adding that the provision was actually meant to help women.
The Civil Partnership Clause was a topical issue when the Bill was gazetted with some churches and individuals claiming that it promotes infidelity through sanitising small houses in the country.
So deafening was the outcry that the government had to back-down and announce that the clause will now be withdrawn during the Committee stage.
Members of the public, legal experts and civic society organisations also took the opportunity of the public hearings that were conducted by Parliament across the country to criticise the Bill and also offer their ideas.
Speaking in the National Assembly during the Second Reading of the Bill, Minister Ziyambi said the government was open to helpful suggestions with regards to the Bill and the clause.
“I assure you, Honourable Members, that there was nothing sinister about this proposal (Civil partnerships). It was an attempt in good faith to help those women stranded between marriage and non-marriage because their partners, for whatever reason, could not or would not go through the formality of registering their union as a marriage.
“Compassion with women in those predicaments does not have to equate to hostility to the marriage institution.
“However, to prevent even the possibility that these civil partnerships may somehow provide an excuse for our men to bypass or diminish the marriage-bond, we as Government will not countenance civil partnerships in the hope that some other expedient in the near future will be devised to solve this thorny problem.
“We are open to helpful suggestions in this regard,” he said-