Zimbabwe newlyweds discover marriage papers invalid


HARARE – Thousands of newlyweds in Zimbabwe have been surprised to discover their marriage certificates, issued within the last 18 months, are invalid due to a clerical error.

The Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) recently issued an alert notice to lawyers nationwide, revealing that the stationery used for civil marriage certificates still cites a chapter from an old marriage act, repealed in 2022. 

The new act, effective from September 2022, introduced significant changes, including enhanced rights for partners in traditional marriages and the criminalization of child marriage.

Affected parties have been advised by the law society to take their certificates to a registrar for correction and stamping. 

Lawyers have warned that divorce proceedings cannot be initiated with an invalid certificate.

Several newlyweds, who were previously unaware of the potential invalidity of their certificates, expressed surprise when contacted by the BBC. 

The revelation has sparked humor on various instant messaging platforms, with some jokingly viewing it as an opportunity for those seeking an exit from their marriage.

The Civil Registry Department, in a statement to the state-owned paper The Chronicle, clarified that while existing certificates can be amended, new stationery bearing the correct law cannot be printed until the government officially announces the change via a gazette.

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