Government orders all unmarried couples to get married before end of the year or pay fine

The government will no longer entertain 'mpango za Kando' and defaulters risk a hefty fine.

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Its benefits cannot be overstated, from health benefits to financial freedom for generations parents and even state has been urging their children to get married.

Some scientific studies have even found out married couples are healthier, happier and enjoy longer lives than those who are not married.

In Africa especially Marriage is highly valued and cherished, through Marriage social status, economic and even political welfare of the whole community prospers.

The above reason and many more may therefore be what inform one East African nation to issue a degree mandating all unmarried couples to get married.

The government of Burundi government on Friday announced all Unmarried couples have until the end of the year to legalise their relationships failure to which they will face the law.

The order follows the launch of a campaign this month by President Pierre Nkurunziza "to moralise society" in the tiny nation which for two years has been gripped by violent political upheavals.

Interior ministry spokesman Terence Ntahiraja told AFP the country was facing a population explosion which he blamed on "illegal marriages", polygamy, bigamy and "hundreds of schoolgirls getting pregnant".

He said church and state-sanctioned weddings were the solution and were a patriotic duty.

The football fan president said Burundians should show their love for each other and their country by getting married.

The government has since been pressuring unwed couples across the country to tie the knot.

Pierre, a 27-year-old farmer living with his partner in Ngozi, in the north, said local officials had threatened him with a 50,000 Burundian franc ($25/22 euro) fine and said any child born out of wedlock would not be eligible for free education and medical costs.

Ordinary Burundians cite high cost of bride price demanded by girl’s parents as reason for choosing come we stay arrangements.

"She told me she was pregnant. As I am poor, we decided to come together to raise our child," he said. "We thought we would legalise our union as soon as we could afford it."

Activist have however criticized the forced marriages claiming they were part of a "religious crusade" led by Nkurunziza and his wife, both fervent, born-again evangelical Christians.

Ntahiraja however dismissed the allegations and stated the government's campaign was within the law.

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