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Ghanaian Priest’s Marriage To 12-Year-Old Raises Concerns

An influential traditional priest, aged 63, has sparked outrage in Ghana by marrying a 12-year-old girl.

Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII, the priest, married her in a customary ceremony held on Saturday.

In response to criticism, community leaders have argued that outsiders misunderstand their customs and traditions.

Although the legal minimum age for marriage in Ghana is 18 years old, child marriage persists.

According to Girls Not Brides, 19% of girls in the country marry before they turn 18, and 5% before their 15th birthday.

Videos and photos of the elaborate event, attended by dozens of community members, have gone viral on social media, triggering widespread outcry.

During the ceremony, women advised the young bride on how to dress to please her husband and fulfill her wifely duties.

These statements fueled further outrage, as they suggested the marriage was more than just ceremonial.

Critics are calling on authorities to annul the marriage and investigate Mr. Tsuru.

Leaders of the Nungua indigenous community, to which both the girl and the priest belong, have condemned public opposition to the marriage, dismissing it as ignorance.

Nii Bortey Kofi Frankwa II, a local community leader, defended the marriage, stating that the girl’s role as the priest’s wife is purely traditional and does not interfere with her education.

The girl is expected to undergo a second customary ceremony to prepare her for her new role as the high priest’s wife, including her marital responsibilities such as childbearing.

Mr. Tsuru holds the position of “Gborbu Wulomo,” or traditional high priest, in the Nungua indigenous community in Accra, the capital city.

As a spiritual leader, he holds a prominent position in the community, performing sacrifices, praying for protection, enforcing cultural practices, and leading traditional rites.

The government authorities have yet to respond to the controversial marriage.

While Ghanaian law recognizes customary marriages, it does not permit child marriages under the guise of culture or tradition.

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