Chief Sekute’s representative David Siandavu said headmen will be on alert to monitor parents to ensure that children, especially girls, are enrolled in school.
Chief Sekute said it is unfortunate that some parents still want to marry off their daughters at a tender age in this era.
Speaking during a handover ceremony of Siandunda Community School by the Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) in Kazungula, Chief Sekute said rampant teenage pregnancies and early marriages are a source of concern not only to him but to traditional leaders countrywide.
“I am warning parents that they must send their children to school. The traditional leadership will be going around the villages to ensure that all those children who are supposed to be in school are enrolled, and if we find that you have failed to take them to school, we shall deal with you,” Chief Sekute said.
The traditional leadership will embark on a programme to ensure that girls who were forced into early marriages return to school.
“So to those that have their children already married when they are supposed to be in school, we are going to ensure that they are brought back so that they can start going to school. If you are going to take your girl children into early marriages, the traditional council will deal with you severely,” Chief Sekute said.
Earlier, Kazungula district commissioner Pascalina Musokotwane said parents must stop the practice of exchanging their girl children for cattle.
“I want to urge all our traditional leaders to withdraw all children from early marriages. Likewise, parents and guardians sending their children into early marriage, for whatever reason, must be punished. There is no excuse for denying a child the right to education,” Ms Musokotwane said.
CHALI MULENGA in Livingstone
-Zambia Daily Mail