Marriage Certificates Citing Invalid Law Render Hundreds of Marriages Null

Zimbabwean Couples Face Uncertainty as Marriage Certificates Deemed Invalid”

by Motoni Olodun

In a shocking revelation, the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has issued a warning to couples who have entered into civil marriages to urgently rectify their incorrectly captioned certificates, as they cite an invalid law. This situation has arisen following the introduction of the new Marriages Act chapter 5:17 back in 2022. However, the certificates that continued to be issued capture the old statute, chapter 5:111.

This discrepancy in the stationery brings about a legal technicality that needs correction by the Registrar of Marriages, which falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. In a statement dated March 11, 2024, LSZ executive secretary, Edward Mapara, stated that under the old stationery, those who fail to comply with an order to have certificates fixed would be in null and void unions.

The issue at hand is that despite the existence of the new Marriages Act, the stationery being used for civil marriages registered after the effective date has not changed. Parties are therefore still being given marriage certificates which now incorrectly read ‘5:11’.

Couples undergoing proceedings to terminate marriages are mostly warned to take seriously the advice to regularize the chapter 5:11 certificates to read chapter 5:17, or else their divorces won’t sail through. Members instructed in divorce proceedings should attend to rectification, as the divorce cannot properly be founded on a null certificate.

While this situation may seem daunting, it’s important to remember that every problem has a solution. Couples affected by this issue are advised to take immediate action to rectify their marriage certificates. This will not only ensure the legality of their union but also safeguard their rights and obligations under the law.


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