Love for sale

13 February 2020 | Social Issues

Economic challenges have driven some Namibian women into entering marriages of convenience with foreign nationals for as little as N$500 per month, deputy minister of home affairs and immigration, Maureen Hinda-Mbuende said.
Briefing the media, Hinda-Mbuende said the victims of such bogus marriages are mostly women between the ages of 25 and 40, saying that while male victims do exist, they are few.
She noted that currently, the ministry is dealing with 70 confirmed cases of which 10 have led to fraud convictions in court. The majority of offenders are from Zimbabwe, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
“Many Egyptian men selling things around Windhoek’s streets are married to these young women who reside in rural areas. Specifically for Egypt, over a period of five years, we have registered 130 marriages,” she said.
Hinda-Mbuende said the ministry mostly learned about these bogus marriages when the “husbands” stop paying the agreed monthly amount, after which the women approach the ministry.
She said that although there is no law guiding the ministry on regulating these fake marriages, there is an administration process in place to trace and nullify such marriages.
The minister said that the Namibian Constitution protects the right of every citizen to get married and start a family, however, it is important that marriages in Namibia are constituted in good faith and for the fundamental right of establishing a family.
“The Namibian passport is accepted in many countries globally, hence some of the foreigners own it through sham marriages and for criminal activities. Therefore, it is important for our nation to be aware of the danger posed by these criminal elements.”
She said that by law, a person can have domicile in Namibia by virtue of marrying a Namibian and can be granted citizenship after 10 years of marriage. However, such nuptials are by law expected to be ethical and in good faith as well as integrity.
Hinda-Mbuende called on Namibians to report such unethical behaviour in efforts to protect themselves and the country from criminal activities. – Nampa

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