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Roora ‘no longer a requirement’ under the new Marriages Act in Zimbabwe

Payment of roora/lobola is no longer a legal requirement under the new Marriages Act but rather a moral decision, director of the Law Development Commission (LDC), Netsai Zvakasikwa confirmed.

Zvakasikwa said this during a recent interactive public legal awareness meeting in Masvingo.

The LDC is conducting nationwide legal awareness meetings on the Marriages Act [Chapter 5:17] meant to teach people about the new law and its applicability to them.

As quoted by the Chronicle, Zvakasikwa said the government still respects moral values and cultural customs surrounding marriages. But the payment of bride price is no longer obligatory.

“Chiefs have expressed disapproval of the Civil Marriages Act provision stating that “roora” consideration is no longer a requirement.

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“However, as indigenous Zimbabweans, we are attempting to make it clear that we did not create the civil marriage system; rather, we inherited it,” Zvakasikwa said.

LDC deputy chair, Rex Shana said traditional leaders will be designated to officiate at customary marriages.

“Chiefs will soon be designated to officiate customary marriages within their respective jurisdictions following the new requirements.

“According to the recently passed statute, chiefs are awaiting induction. We are not abolishing their customs; however, the Act has introduced new obligations, such as verifying that the couple getting married is at least eighteen years old and that they are unrelated in any way, meaning that a brother cannot wed a sister or a cousin. Cousins by birth cannot get married,” Shana said.