Protocol watch


Zimbabwe signed the Maputo Protocol in November, 2003 and ratified in April 2008.


  • Constitutional Court ruling effectively set the minimum age for marriage at 18. Since this ruling, there has been a push to align the Criminal Law Codification Act with this decision, as it currently sets the age of consent for sexual activity at 16.[i]
  • National Programme for GBV prevention and response 2016–2020, i.e. The ‘Zero Tolerance for GBV 365” program works to coordinate all GBV actors in Zimbabwe, with a focus on implementing a systematized set of GBV prevention and response interventions, both in humanitarian and development settings; reducing replication of efforts by these actors; and enhancing access to multi-sectoral GBV services.[ii] 


  • New National Gender Policy is launched, to address the shortcomings of the previous one. However, the original policy is nowhere to be found. [iii] 


  • The Marriages Bills ought to harmonize and replace the Customary Marriages Act and the Marriage Act, and included provisions to eliminate child marriage, eliminate bride price as a prerequisite for registering a customary marriage, ensure mutual consent of both parties in a marriage, and recognize some civil partnerships that were unregistered. As of end of 2020, the bill had stalled after the second reading due to disagreements over bride price and the role of chiefs in officiating marriages. [iv]


  • Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 2)(enacted in 2021)–extends the quota for women in parliament that was stipulated in the 2013 to last until only 2023. [v]


[i] ZimFact (2019), “Does Parliamentary committee want to push age of sexual consent down to 12 years”. 

[ii] Zimbabwe (2018), “Zero Tolerance for GBV 365 National Programme on GBV Prevention & Response 2017–2020 Annual Report”.

[iii] UNDP Zimbabwe (2017), “New National Gender Policy is Launched”.

[iv] The Herald (2020), “Marriages Bill stalls”. 

[v] allAfrica (2021), “Zimbabwe: ‘Amendments Empower the People.