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Business News/ News / World/  Ghanaian priest, 63, ties knot with 12-YO girl; sparks controversy

Ghanaian priest, 63, ties knot with 12-YO girl; sparks controversy

Ghanaian traditional priest marries 12-year-old girl, sparking controversy. Community leaders defend the marriage, citing customs and traditions.

Young girls play next to a street shop. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe) (Representative Image) (AP)Premium
Young girls play next to a street shop. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe) (Representative Image) (AP)

A 63-year-old traditional priest has caused controversy in Ghana by marrying a 12-year-old girl. Despite facing criticism, community leaders have defended the marriage, stating that outsiders fail to understand their customs and traditions.

According to a report by BBC, the priest, named Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII, conducted the marriage in a customary ceremony held on Saturday.

In Ghana, the legal minimum age for marriage is 18, and while the prevalence of child marriage has decreased, it still occurs.

Nii Bortey Kofi Frankwa II, a leader within the local community, emphasized on Sunday that the girl's role as the priest's spouse is entirely rooted in tradition and custom.

Also Read: ‘No polygamy, child marriage’: Himanta Sarma sets condition for Bangladeshi Muslims in Assam

BBC reported that Frankwa II said that the girl started the rites to become the priest's wife six years ago, but the process did not interfere with her education.

It is to be noted that Ghanaian law acknowledges customary marriages, it explicitly prohibits child marriages under the pretext of culture or tradition. According to the NGO Girls Not Brides, 19% of girls in the country are married before the age of 18, with 5% getting married before their 15th birthday.

Videos of the marriage ceremony depict locals advising the girl to prepare for her duties as a wife and to utilize the perfumes they presented to enhance her attractiveness to her husband.

Also Read: ‘Was once normal for girls to deliver child before turning 17…’: Gujarat HC hears rape survivor's abortion plea

Additionally, reports from local media indicate that the girl is anticipated to undergo a second customary ceremony to cleanse her for her new role as the high priest's wife. This ceremony will also prepare her for marital obligations such as childbirth.

Who is Tsuru?

BBC report informed that Tsuru holds the esteemed position of “Gborbu Wulomo," which translates to the traditional high priest in the Nungua indigenous community located in the capital city of Accra.

As a spiritual leader, he ranks among the highest traditional leaders within the community. His responsibilities include conducting sacrifices on behalf of the community, offering prayers for its protection, upholding cultural practices, and leading traditional ceremonies, such as the installation of traditional chiefs.

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Published: 03 Apr 2024, 11:47 AM IST
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