The Zambia National Men’s Network for Gender and Development (ZNMNGD) has called for the abolishment of the bride price commonly known as “Lobola”.
Organisation National Coordinator, Nelson Banda, said this was because the practice was contributing to the escalation in Gender Based Violence(GBV) cases and many men and parents are abusing the tradition.
Banda spoke with Zambia Monitor in Lusaka on Wednesday.
“We feel that families who are charging between K30,000 and K50,000 as bride price are commercializing, dehumanizing and objectifying their daughters, placing them in harm’s way of being victims of GBV,” he said.
Banda said the practice was contributing to a rise in GBV cases as husbands who paid huge sums in bride price felt they can own the woman and treat them as chattels and mere s*x objects.
He said whilst the organization acknowledged that paying bride price was a tradition meant to celebrate marriage, it was very sad that some families are using it for financial capital by turning women into commodities for sale.
“Therefore high bride prices have a negative effect on the stability of marriages apart from contributing to the rise in cases of GBV as well as early and child marriages,” Banda said.
He argued that women were tied down to staying in abusive marriages because parents or guardians were unable to speak out if something goes wrong in such homes.
Banda said the problem had been compounded by some poor families charging high bride price to escape from poverty but even affluent families had been found wanting of the the practice.
“The practice reduced women’s self-esteem and dis-empowered them while men were left feeling that they owned the women they had paid for like a piece of property,” he said.
Banda called on government, especially the House of Chiefs to develop guidelines on bride price because the practice was now being commercialised and subjecting women and girls into endless GBV situations.
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