High  lobola prices fuelling GBV, says NGOCC

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 10:03:22 +0000



THE increase in Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases in Zambia has been attributed to exorbitant amounts of money being charged as ‘‘lobola’’ (bride price), the Non-Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) board chairperson Sara Longwe has said.

According to recent statistics, the Zambia Police recorded a total of 18,540 cases of GBV countrywide in the year 2016 as compared to 2015 where 18,088 cases were reported, showing an increase of 452 cases, translating to 2.4 percent hike.

Ms. Longwe told the Daily Nation in an interview that lobola had lost its cultural significance owing to its commercialization.

She noted that lobola was meant to unite two families and that it was sad that it had now become a money-making endeavour which she said had brought negative impact on women who were in most cases victims of GBV.

She compared the old price of lobola and what was being paid nowadays, saying that the price had gone through a radical transformation whereby it had changed from being a simple cultural practice into a high business venture

“Some families are now charging very high lobola so as to start some business, hence they have turned this cultural practice to raising capital. What they are forgetting is that this has some great impact on the woman because some are now just forced to marry a man simply because of his riches and this is what is leading to these cases of Gender Based Violence we are seeing, because there will be no love between the two.

“Many women out there are being abused by their husbands out of bitterness for the huge amounts of money they paid to their in-laws for lobola,” Ms Longwe said.

She also said conjugal rights were central in all marriages, thus men think that conjugal rights were purchased through the payment of lobola.

“Sexual rights should be negotiated and not controlled by one person based on the amount of money paid as lobola but these days men insist that they have the right to make all decisions to do with sex and in some instances go as far as forcing their wives into intercourse.

“Many women face marital rape but they cannot report because it is socially accepted and it is difficult to press charges when the husband has paid a large sum of money in lobola,” she said.

Ms Longwe has said the increase in GBV cases in the country was a wake-up call for both Government and stakeholders scale up interventions and first deal with the root causes if the vice was to be eliminated.


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