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“Small House Clause” was done in good faith says Minister

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.

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So deafening was the outcry that the government had to back-down and announce that the clause will now be withdrawn during the Committee stage.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.

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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.

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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-

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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