Friday, July 12, 2024

Ghana: Police protection for girl married to 63-year-old priest

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Police in Ghana have said protection has been offered to a girl whose marriage to a traditional priest aged 63 in the capital Accra has sparked outrage.

Earlier reports said the girl was 12 years but the chieftaincy ministry in Ghana said she is rather 16.

In a statement the police said both the girl and her mother are under protection as investigations continue into the incident.

The traditional priest, Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII, reportedly married the girl in a customary ceremony last weekend.

“The Ghana Police Service has identified and located the [girl] who is alleged to have been married to the 63-year-old Gborbu Wulomo in Nungua, Accra. The girl and her mother are currently under Police protection,” the police statement said.

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The legal minimum age to get married in Ghana is 18 and news of the girl’s marriage to the priest triggered concerns.

Global campaigning NGO, Girls Not Brides has said 19% of girls in Ghana get married off before they reach 18.  Infact 5% get married even before their 15th birthday.

“The Ghana Police Service is working with the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection and the Department of Social Welfare to provide her with the necessary support while the matter is being investigated,” the police statement added.

But despite the criticisms that have followed the incident, community leaders have said their customs and tradition have been misunderstood.

The GaDangme Council, an influential group in the region has said the relationship between a traditional ga priest and the was just a betrothal and not a marriage.

In a statement, the group said 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.”

“We are inclined to side with the Gborbu Wulomo since the original reportage made the point that there was another ceremony that awaited the girl to purify and prepare her for procreation.”

The government agency responsible for such issues, the gender, children and social protection is yet to comment on the matter.

But the Chieftaincy Ministry has indicated it is seriously considering the said marriage.


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