Marriage of 63-year-old religious leader to 12-year-old girl sparks outrage

Marriage of 63-year-old religious leader to 12-year-old girl sparks outrage
Marriage of 63-year-old religious leader to 12-year-old girl sparks outrage
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Image of the wedding announcement between Gborbu Wulomo and the girl | Photo: Reproduction / Ghana Press

The marriage of a 63-year-old animist religious leader to a teenager has sparked a wave of outrage in Ghana and protests calling for the priest’s arrest in the West African country.

The religious man, Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII, also known as Gborbu Wulomo, married the young woman last Saturday (30) in a traditional ceremony, near the capital, Accra.

Police and authorities initially said the girl was 12 or 13 years old, but traditional authorities involved in the ceremony say she is 16.

In Ghana, the legal minimum age for marriage is 18. “We seem to be understanding several things. For example, that the age of 12 that we have been led to believe is false. The girl is almost 16… She is still a minor,” said Minister of Religious Affairs, Stephen Asamoah Boateng, in an interview with a local radio station.

Photos and videos of the wedding were published on social media, which generated strong indignation among internet users and children’s rights activists.

“The State must act immediately,” Nana Oye Bampoe Addo, activist and former Ghanaian Minister of Gender Equality, Children and Social Protection, told AFP. “What just happened is a crime and it is illegal,” she added.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation and indicated that a “criminal offense” may have been committed. To defend the marriage, the priest’s spokesman, Mankralo Shwonotalor, assured that the spouses will not have sexual relations until the girl is of legal age to do so, that is, 16 years old. However, he did not specify the girl’s age.

“It is not a marriage ceremony. There is nothing sexual about it. The leader already has three regular wives. This is a traditional role of helping the priest in his spiritual duties,” the spokesman said by phone.

According to him, the rights of the teenager, who continues to attend school, were not violated. She and her mother were placed under police protection shortly after the ceremony.

(AFP)

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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Marriage #63yearold religious leader #12yearold girl sparks outrage

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