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Govt raises the alarm over failing marriages, says divorce cases rise to 36,000 in 2023


President Hakainde Hichilema has raised an alarm over the increasing cases of divorce in the country, particularly among young people.

Hichilema stated that it was unacceptable that divorce cases had continued to rise, with 36,000 cases recorded in the courts of law in 2023 and 31,000 in 2022.

The President said this when he addressed the parliament on the progress made in the application of the national values and principles in Lusaka on Friday.

Article 9 (2) of the Constitution required the President to report to Parliament on the progress made in the application of the national values and principles.

During his address, Hichilema noted the need to build strong marriages where couples and families are capable of resolving differences amicably.

“Marriages should be where couples are capable of raising children into responsible citizens, anchored on strong family and religious values,” he stated.

The President urged the families, the church, traditional leaders, civil society and community organisations, to enhance marriage counselling and teachings.

Hichilema also urged couples to abide by the strong commitment of marriage and live in love, peace and harmony.

“A few differences among couples should not lead to separation but rather reconciliation through civilised dialogue,” he said.

Hichilema added that to address early child marriage and teenage pregnancy, working with the church, traditional leaders and other partners, government in 2023, conducted sensitisation programmes countrywide.

He said to this end, 192 chiefdoms and over 2.5 million people were sensitised on the dangers of child marriage and teenage pregnancy.

“Further, government trained 106,277 community leaders and 1,441 community welfare assistance committees across the country,” the President stated.

Hichilema assured the nation that government would continue to strengthen community action towards ending early child marriage and teenage pregnancy.

Read More: Catholic Bishops lament record 31,000 divorce cases in 2022, ask families to spend less time on phones, television

On Gender Based Violence (GBV), he stated that it was disheartening to note that the number of reported cases of gender-based violence increased to 42,965 in 2023 from 33,536 in 2022.

“These acts of violence have, in some cases, resulted in loss of life. In our quest to stop gender-based violence, we have continued to conduct countrywide public awareness and sensitisation campaigns,” Hichilema said

He disclosed that government provided counselling and legal support to 7,819 victims of gender-based violence, comprising 5,056 females and 2,763 males.

On alcohol and substance abuse, Hichilema said to stem alcohol and substance abuse, government sensitised 211 chiefs and 700 religious leaders on the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse.

“We desire to strengthen the role of our traditional and religious leaders, as change agents in their communities,” the President stated.

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