An influential 63-year-old traditional priest has sparked outrage in Ghana by marrying a 12-year-old girl.

 

The priest, Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII, married her in a traditional ceremony held on Saturday. In the face of criticism, community leaders have said that people do not understand their traditions and customs. The minimum legal age for marriage in Ghana is 18 years and the incidence of child marriage has decreased, but it continues to occur.

 

According to the non-governmental organization that conducts the international campaign Girls Not Brides, 19 percent of girls in the country are married before they turn 18 and 5 percent are married before they turn 15. Videos and photos of the event on Saturday, which was attended by tens of community members, have been widely distributed on social networks, thus creating a buzz among many victims.

 

During the ceremony, the women who were speaking in the local Ga language told the girl to wear clothes to attract her husband. They can also be heard advising her to be ready for the duties of a wife and to use the perfume they gave her to increase her romantic interest in her husband.

 

The statements provoked anger, as they seemed to imply that the marriage was not just a ceremony. Critics have called on authorities to dissolve the marriage and investigate Mr Tsuru.

 

Leaders of the local community of Nungua, of which the girl and the priest are members, have condemned the public opposition to the marriage, saying the criticism “is based on an act of ignorance”.

 

April 2, 2024

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