Anger in Ghana as 63-Year-Old Priest Marries 12-Year-Old Girl Amidst Customary Celebration

Anger in Ghana as 63-Year-Old Priest Marries 12-Year-Old Girl Amidst Customary Celebration

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Accra, Ghana (TAE)– A storm of controversy has erupted in Ghana following the marriage of a 63-year-old traditional priest, Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII, to a 12-year-old girl. The wedding, which took place in a customary ceremony on Saturday, has sparked widespread outrage across the nation, with many calling for immediate action against the union.

Despite the furor, local community leaders defend the ceremony, attributing the backlash to misunderstandings of their traditions and customs. In Ghana, the legal threshold for marriage is 18; however, child marriage persists in some regions. According to Girls Not Brides, a global campaign against child marriage, 19% of Ghanaian girls are married before 18, with 5% married before 15.

The event, attended by numerous community members, was extensively documented and shared on social media, further fueling public indignation. Disturbingly, during the ceremony, women were heard advising the young bride on how to appeal to her husband sexually, emphasizing the marriage’s consummation rather than its ceremonial nature.

Critics are now urging authorities to annul the marriage and conduct a thorough investigation into Mr. Tsuru’s actions. Conversely, leaders of the Nungua indigenous community, where both the priest and the girl hail from, have criticized the public’s reaction, claiming it stems from ignorance of their customs.

Nii Bortey Kofi Frankwa II, a prominent community leader, stated that the girl’s betrothal to the priest has been in process for six years, insisting that it has not hindered her education. He stressed that the union is grounded in tradition and custom, with plans for a second ceremony to prepare the girl for her marital duties, including childbearing.

Mr. Tsuru, recognized as a “Gborbu Wulomo” or high priest in the Nungua community, plays a pivotal role in spiritual and cultural practices within the area. His duties include leading traditional rites, enforcing cultural norms, and praying for communal protection.

The Ghanaian government has yet to comment on the controversial marriage. While Ghanaian law acknowledges customary marriages, it strictly prohibits child marriages under any cultural or traditional pretext. The incident has reignited debates on the balance between respecting cultural traditions and protecting children’s rights in Ghana.

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