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Zimbabwe National Lawyers Forum reaches out to communities

Story by Tapiwa Machemedze

THE Zimbabwe National Lawyers Forum has urged people to develop a culture of seeking professional legal advice to avoid misconception of new laws.

Legal practitioners have dispelled misconceptions of being elitist and inaccessible after providing free legal services to people Bindura at the weekend.

The lawyers engaged in dialogue with the community and law students on several laws particularly the new Marriages Act which merges all marriage laws and abolishes child marriage.

“All marriages are now equal, there is no longer a marriage greater than the other, either the civil marriage or that which used to be called chapter 5:11. We used to have challenges defending clients with civil marriage during divorce cases,” noted Mr. Raynos Gumbo, a legal practitioner.

“The law outlines that only people who are 18 years and above can marry or be married. The only marriage recognised in the country is between male and female,” he added.

Bindura residents welcomed the legal clinic for enlightening them on several legal issues, urging lawyers to maintain an open-door policy for the disadvantaged.

“We are enjoying the coming of lawyers here i Bindura and have appreciated several laws we didn’t understand about such as the issue of marriage laws,” noted one of the residents who spoke to ZBC News.

“Laws that restrict underage marriage are laws that have satisfied me knowing that if government sets such laws it’s setting a good precedence,” noted another.

Zimbabwe National Lawyers Forum Spokesperson Mr. Elaton Bonongwe said legal practitioners should be proactive regards social development issues.

“The main purpose of this gathering today is to showcase one of the products of the forum to ensure free legal access for the communities and societies. We encourage people to demystify lawyers. Gone are the days when lawyers could be seen as conservative or elitist. Lawyers are accessible,” said Mr Bonongwe.

Since enactment of the new constitution in 2013, government has worked hard to ensure laws which were out of sync were aligned with the supreme law, with some being repealed, amended and redrafted.

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