Tanzania’s court of appeal has upheld a ruling that set the minimum marriage age at 18.
Women and child rights advocates in Tanzania on Wednesday lauded the decision saying: ”This was a victory not only for girl children but also for Tanzanians in general.”
According to VOA, Ann Sangai and other advocacy agencies noted that the decision would go a long way in protecting young girls in the country especially where the culture of early marriages persists.
The ruling marks the end of a two-year legal battle after the Msichana Initiative took to the court of appeal to have the minimum marriage raised.
Alex Mngongolwa, one of the lawyers acting for the advocacy group, said that marriage under the age of 18 goes against the country’s constitution and also against international conventions.
According to The Citizen, a Tanzanian publication, Rebecca Gyumi, a girls’ rights activist, petitioned the court to review the country’s marriage act.
The Attorney general then moved to a higher court in 2018 to appeal the decision in a move that caused public outrage.
The government’s legal counsel had argued that: ”the lower minimum age actually protected girls who became pregnant out of wedlock.”