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Traditional marriages becoming popular in Blantyre

Many people are opting to go for traditional marriage officiation even when they have already been married in Church..

District Commissioner for Blantyre, Charles Makanga said in an interview on Tuesday that people seem to opt for traditional marriages because their divorce conditions are softer than civil marriages which are registered at the Registrar General’s office.

A marriage which was registered at the council ends at the magistrate court while the one registered at the registrar general’s office ends at the high court.

“In addition to that, the marriage is popular because it’s internationally recognized unlike the other marriages,” he said.

Records from the district council indicate that 50 couples have had their traditional marriages registered at the council since January.

In February alone, the office had 15 traditional unions. Two marriage certificates are issued to the couple immediately after paying a fee of K2, 500. The original is given to the husband, the wife gets a duplicate and another duplicate remains at the district council. The certificate, which is light green in colour, is in Chichewa language.

“The couple is advised to make two other copies which their marriage counselors are supposed to keep as evidence since this is legally bound,” Elson Muhamba, an accountant who handles the registration at the council told Mana.

Asked whether traditional marriages would be encouraging indirect polygamy by people who already got marriage in church, Makanga said there is a requirement that witnesses or counselors from both sides sign which reduces chances of such cases.

Traditional Authority Machinjiri of Blantyre said the trend of marriage registration at the council or registrar general’s office seems to be fashionable since people want to be regarded as married but is contrary to our culture since not all procedures are followed.


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