63-year-old Priest Marries 12-year-old Girl in Ghana

Thursday, April 4, 2024, 4:51 AM GMT-5

A customary marriage which took place last Saturday in Ghana has ignited controversy, where Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII, a 63-year-old high-ranking traditional priest, married a 12-year-old girl in an event that attracted widespread social media attention and public uproar.

In Ghana, the legal threshold for marriage is set at 18 years, with the country witnessing a decrease in child marriages, though they still occur. Customary marriages, recognized under Ghanaian law, exclude those involving minors.

The marriage ceremony as reported by the BBC, conducted in accordance with local traditions of the Nungua indigenous community in Accra, showcased women instructing the young bride on her new responsibilities, further intensifying public dissent.

Via X

Community leaders, however, defend the marriage, attributing the outcry to misunderstandings of their traditions. Despite these assertions, critics demand the marriage’s annulment and legal scrutiny of Mr. Tsuru’s actions.

Girls Not Brides, a global NGO, highlights that 19% of Ghanaian girls marry before 18, with 5% marrying before 15, indicating the persistent issue of child marriage. The girl involved had been undergoing rites for this marriage since she was six, with assurances that her education remained unaffected.

She is slated for another ceremony to ready her for her responsibilities as the priest’s wife.

Mr. Tsuru, known as a “Gborbu Wulomo,” holds a significant position within his community, tasked with leading spiritual and cultural rites. Despite his status and the community’s support, the marriage has drawn significant backlash, prompting calls for governmental intervention to address this controversial union.

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