JUSTICE Minister Given Lubinda says social media platforms have become sources of conflict in marriages.
The Justice Minister told Parliament on Friday morning that a number of divorce petitions which were registered in both Local Courts and High Courts, had to do with the abuse of social media.
During the question for oral answer session, Friday, Lufubu PF member of parliament Gift Chiyalika asked Lubinda how many divorce petitions were granted in the High Court and Local Courts countrywide, from 2016 to 2019.
In response, Lubinda said over 62,000 divorce petitions were granted countrywide.
“The total number of divorce petitions granted from 2016 to 2019 where as follows: High Court in 2016 [were] 361; Local Court 18,417. In 2017, High Court 344; Local Court 13,900. In 2018 High 287; Local Court 16,751. In 2019 High Court 307; Local Court 12,431,” Lubinda said.
Mitete UPND member of parliament Misheck Mutelo also asked what could be the cause of the divorce cases in Local Courts, which seemed to have high numbers.
In response, Lubinda said some of the technological advancements that people were supposed to be benefiting from, had become causes of the breakage of marriages.
“Indeed there were many more devorce petitions that were granted through Local Courts than they were granted through the High Court. And there are many causes for these divorces. But under Zambian law, there is only one ground for divorce, and that is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. That is the only ground on which a court can grant a divorce petition. The causes for the marriage breaking down irretrievably are numerous,” he said.
“I ought to hasten to mention that in Zambia like in many other jurisdictions, unfortunately some of the technological advancements that people are supposed to be beneffiting from have become causes of the breakage of marriages. In this particular case, the social media platforms have become sources of conflict in marriages. A very unfortunate development. In Local Courts as well as in High Courts, a number of divorce petitions are registered and have to do with abuse of social media. However, there are other reasons for the breakdown of marriages and they are so numerous, I don’t think that it will be in the interest of Parliament for me to go through them, but they are various.”
The Lufubu member of parliament also asked a follow up question on what government was doing to ensure that the divorce rate was reduced.
In response, Lubinda said government was taking a number of initiatives to strengthen marriages.
He added that they were also concerned by the high number of divorces that were taking place and would like to minimise them as much as possible.
“The government is taking a number of initiatives to strengthen marriages. You have heard a number of cabinet ministers, each time they are given an opportunity to speak in Church, they do encourage our church leaders to speak positively about the maintenance of marriages. You will also realise that we have a ministry responsible for national guidance and that ministry has also been carrying out programs to sensitize people on the value of maintaining strong marriage ties. Every time that you hear a member of parliament particularly from the Patriotic Front invited to grace a wedding, do speak to the need for us to strengthen our marriage vows because for any society to be strong, the primary unit of society which is a family, ought to be strong. We too are concerned by the high number of divorces that are taking place and we would like to minimise this as much as possible,” said Lubinda.
“I would like to appeal to all of us members of parliament whenever we have the opportunity to speak about the values of marriage, the maintenance of strong families. Some of the effects of a breakage of marriages are being seen by the growing number of children who are living on the streets. Some of those children are coming from broken homes. We see a lot of children who are dropping out of school as a result of a breakage of marriages.”
Meanwhile, Lubinda said the one sure way of maintaining strong marriages was through continuous marriage counselling.