Marriage Between 63-Year-Old Priest And 12-Year-Old Girl Sparks Outrage In Ghana

Trigger warning: human rights violation, child marriage.

An influential 63-year-old priest married a 12-year-old girl in
Ghana, sparking outrage among locals who say the union constitutes a human rights violation.

The ceremony took place on Saturday (March 30) despite the legal minimum age to get married in Ghana being 18 years old.

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Critics have called for the authorities to dissolve the marriage and investigate the priest, known as Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII, as per the BBC.

Tsuru is a “Gborbu Wulomo,” or traditional high priest, in the Nungua indigenous community in the capital, Accra.

He reportedly performs sacrifices on behalf of the community, prays for the community’s protection, enforces cultural practices, and leads traditional rites during events such as the installation of traditional chiefs.

A traditional Ghanian priest, 63, has sparked outrage after taking a 12-year-old girl as his “customary wife”

Image credits: Ablade TV

Responding to the backlash, community leaders have cited “customs and traditions” as reasons they believe legitimize the union.

One of them, Nii Bortey Kofi Frankwa II, says that the pre-teen started the rites to become the priest’s wife at age six and that the process didn’t interfere with her education.

According to the local news channel Ablade TV Online, the 12-year-old is part of the priest’s assumption of authority.

“The Gborbu Wulomo, having assumed his authority, must also take a ‘Boi ekpaa yoo’, his customary wife,” a Facebook post from the news channel reads.

The legal minimum age to get married in Ghana is 18 years old

Image credits: Ablade TV

Leaders of the Nungua indigenous community, to which both the girl and the priest belong, have denounced the criticism in regards to the marriage, saying the opposition “comes from a point of ignorance.”

In videos of the ceremony that have circulated online, guests speaking in the local language, Ga, can be heard advising the girl to dress “teasingly” for Tsuru and wear perfume to boost her “sex appeal.”

The girl is expected to undergo a second customary ceremony of purification for her new role. The ceremony will involve preparations for her future marital responsibilities, including childbearing.

Community leaders have cited “customs and traditions” to justify the union

Image credits: Freepik

Ghana is home to over two million child brides, with one in five girls aged 20 to 24 years married before the age of 18, UNICEF data shows.

Child marriage is considered a violation of human rights and a harmful traditional practice affecting more girls than boys. The practice has profound consequences on girls’ health and development, limiting their future economic and individual empowerment. 

19% of girls in the country are married before they reach 18, while 5% get married before their 15th birthday, the NGO Girls Not Brides informs.

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The Ghanaian government hasn’t yet responded to news of the marriage.

People have denounced the “disgusting” act, which constitutes a human rights violation

The post Marriage Between 63-Year-Old Priest And 12-Year-Old Girl Sparks Outrage In Ghana first appeared on Bored Panda.

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