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GHANA: Outrage Over 63-year-old Priest Allege Traditional Marriage To A 12-year-old Girl

An influential traditional priest aged 63 has sparked public outrage in Ghana by marrying a 12-year-old girl. Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII, reportedly married 12-year-old, Naa Okromo in a customary ceremony held on Saturday in Nungua.

Nuumo Borketey Laweh XXXIII, the Gborbu Wulomo faced criticism after a video of the ceremony appeared online inspite of the statement from the priest that the girl would not be expected to fulfil marital duties.

The Police in a brief statement noted that prompt action has been taken to ensure the safety and protection of the young girl and her mother, who are currently under police protection.

The Ghana Police Service added that in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection and the Department of Social Welfare, have initiated measures to provide the necessary support and assistance to the girl during this challenging time.

The Paediatric Society of Ghana (PSG) having initially condemned the marriage ceremony between the 63-year-old Ga priest and a 12-year-old girl later softened their stand wen they claimed the ceremony was a just a betrothal and not a marriage.

The GaDangme Council has also clarified that the relationship between a traditional ga priest and the 12-year-old girl is not a marriage ceremony.

In Ga culture, the selection of chiefs, high priests and wives of the high priest is believed to be a spiritual process. Specific families are responsible for nominating someone for these roles to serve the gods.

In this case, the girl comes from one of the families who by tradition must provide a bride for the high priest. It is “important to clarify that the traditional ruler has stated that the relationship with the underage girl is a betrothal and not a marriage. This distinction to us has altered the legal implications.”

The legal minimum age to get married in Ghana is 18 and the prevalence of child marriage has declined, but it continues to happen.