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Confusion Galore: Marriage Certificates Cite Invalid Law

"These certificates inaccurately reference Chapter 5:11 of the Marriage Act [Chapter 5:17]" - Edward Mapara, Law Society of Zimbabwe

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Confusion Galore: Marriage Certificates Cite Invalid Law

The Law Society of Zimbabwe has deemed hundreds of marriage certificates invalid in Zimbabwe because they still cite an invalid law.

In a shocking revelation, the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) raised a red flag concerning the validity of marriage certificates issued after September 2022.

It has been established that these certificates may be rendered “null and void” due to a critical discrepancy—they reference an obsolete law.

On May 27, 2022, a significant legal overhaul occurred in Zimbabwe as President Emmerson Mnangagwa enacted the Marriages Act (Chapter 5:17).

This legislation marked a transformative shift in the country’s marriage laws, effectively repealing the existing Marriage Act (Chapter 5:11) and Customary Marriages Act (Chapter 5:07).

The new law introduced several groundbreaking provisions, including the recognition of civil partnerships and qualified civil marriages.

Moreover, it legally acknowledged unregistered customary law unions as valid marriages.

Notably, the legislation mandates that marriages can only be solemnized between consenting adults aged 18 and above, with severe penalties imposed for facilitating marriages involving minors.

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Confusion Galore: Marriage Certificates Cite Invalid Law

Despite the legal updates, a crucial oversight has emerged—the marriage certificates themselves remain unchanged.

Consequently, countless couples unknowingly possess certificates that erroneously cite the outdated “Chapter 5:11” of the act.

In a statement addressing this discrepancy, LSZ’s executive secretary, Edward Mapara, highlighted the issue:

We have been made aware of a troubling error in the marriage certificates currently issued by the Registrar-General’s Office.

These certificates inaccurately reference Chapter 5:11 of the Marriage Act [Chapter 5:17].

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, LSZ has issued a call to action.

Couples, along with legal representatives, are urged to promptly review their marriage certificates for accuracy.

Any certificates found to contain the erroneous reference must be rectified without delay.

To address this issue, individuals are advised to approach Mr. Mpala at the Registrar-General’s Office for the necessary corrections.

Furthermore, attorneys handling divorce proceedings must ensure that marriage certificates are accurate, as flawed documentation could jeopardize legal proceedings.


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