By Manyang Mayom
December 12, 2010 (JUBA) – The chairman of Rumbek Youth Union has condemned a new customary law in Lakes state that makes it illegal for a young man to impregnate a girl.
Rumbek Youth union (RUMYU) chairman Santino Adong Keloktul said that the law was “useless” and called for article 33 vs 1 of 2010 elopement customary law to be changed by the state assembly.
Keloktul said that the new law did not address the issue and that “this law will introduce more prostitution in Lakes state territory and more death in society”.
He said that the law would not help Lakes state saying that it was damaging to young people.
Article 33 vs 1, says that youth who impregnated girls will be sentenced to jail for 10 years imprisonment and a fine of 1,000 SDG to be paid by their parents as well as 10 female cows.
The new Lakes state new customary law was drafted by Lakes state chief’s conference held in Rumbek earlier this year with the new law adopted by commissioners and passed by Lakes state assembly into law on October 15, 2010.
Between November 27 and December 3, five men were sentence to jail for 10 years at Lakes state court under the new law. Many young people in the state have rejected the law and have called for it to be removed from the statute book.
Speaking in a meeting organized by youth in Rumbek, Abang Suzan representing girls from the state said that girls may be forced to look for husbands outside the state if the law remains in place. She called on women in the state parliament to help change this “wrong” law.
She claimed the article was added by the chiefs to try to stop girls falling in love with and marrying young men rather than older men.
Suzan said that the law “is a silent war between young girls and old ladies and young men with old ones”.
She asked Lakes state lawmakers why they had created this law but not established laws against polygamy, polyandry and the marriage of underage girls to older men, which see said was present in the community.
Abuuk Deng Reech, a student at University Juba studying law said that a law of this nature should be put to the public and not just voted on by the 48 members of assembly.
He also questioned why law makers were so keen to create laws about elopement and youth pregnancy but not act against forced and earlier marriages.