There has been resurgence in the number of registered divorces in the country in the past two years after declining between 2005 and 2006.
Data collected from 1994/95 to 2007/2008 show that 2005/06 had the lowest number of registered divorces with only 28 divorces, which is a 34 per cent decline compared to the previous year. On the other hand, 2001/02 had the highest number of divorces, with 54 divorces recorded in the same period, a 45 per cent increase from the previous year’s 37 divorces. Commenting on the issue, the General Overseer of WAPO Mission International, Reverend Sylvester Gamanywa, said that the growing number of divorces was caused by moral decay in the society and that most couples rushed to marriage life unprepared. “Marriage is a contract between two people, but because of moral decay and unpreparedness on the part of the couples, marriages end up in the rocks. Most couples agree to marriage without fully understanding the terms of the contract, leading to divorces,” explained Rev Gamanywa. However, the number of registered divorces, totaling 405 in 10 years, is said to be small compared to the real situation on the ground as most divorces go unregistered. “If you go through court documents only, there are many divorces granted in the courts. But most of them are not registered here and there are also those which are not granted in court,” explained RITA’s Marriage and Divorce Manager, Ms Julian Mafuru. Ms Mafuru further explained that the divorce certificate was the only document that would certify a termination of marriage, adding that failure to obtain one could hinder one’s rights as he or she would still be considered married. “One cannot remarry if she/he does not possess divorce certificate and he/she considered married according to our laws. So we register divorces and issue divorce certificate to validate divorces. “Another important thing is if one of the spouses dies, the remaining one could claim all inheritance rights as if they were still married because the divorce certificate to finalise the divorce procedures was not applied,” Ms Mafuru warned.
According to a survey by this newspaper, supported by statistics collected in ten years by the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) registered divorces rose to 43 in 2007/2008 year compared to 37 in the previous year.