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MBABANE – It is against the law to misrepresent yourself to a prospective marriage partner.

Making misrepresentations to a prospective spouse can give rise to civil suits against the offender and further makes the marriage voidable. This means that the marriage can be annulled.
Marriage Officer and former District Commissioner (DC) Elliot Mkhwatshwa said once the other spouse discovers during the course of the marriage that they have been mislead into the union, they have the right to sue.
Mkhatshwa said both civil and customary law allowed that marriage to be cancelled if it was based on lies and misrepresentation.  
He said misrepresenting yourself to your prospective partner who commits to become your spouse was against the law.

He said it may result in divorce depending on the grounds that the partner has to annul the marriage.
“Even if we got married in the morning, I can divorce you by the evening if I have discovered that you have misrepresented yourself,” he said.
Mkhatshwa said a majority of people had their own preferences when it came to the type or kind of person they wanted to marry.
It could be that they wanted to marry someone who did not have any children or was not a drunkard, among many other attributes.
According to Mkhatshwa, there were increasing numbers of cases where people misrepresent themselves in order to get into marriage.

He said other cases were those of infidelity where the other spouse will even go to an extent of having a child outside marriage with another married person.
He said in such cases, the child would not really know their rightful or correct surname and discover this when they are grownups.
 “It is always fair to tell the truth to your partner and it will be up to him or how he or she receives the news,” he said.
However, he said that lying about age could not be a ground for divorce as that can be addressed.

Reverend Grace Masilela from the Church of the Nazarene said it was wrong to engage in sexual intercourse before marriage but said they encouraged partners to be truthful to each other.
Masilela said if a Christian girl was proposed to, she should tell the prospective partner the truth that she was living in the world and has done it all.
She said the truth sets you free because even the partner will appreciate that you have been faithful rather than lying.
“When the lies finally catch up with you, it becomes a huge embarrassment,” she said.


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