63-Year-Old Ghana Priest Defends Marrying 12-Year-Old Girl

'Nothing Sexual': 63-Year-Old Ghana Priest Defends Marrying 12-Year-Old Girl

The priest married the girl in a huge ceremony on Saturday.

A 63-year-old priest in Ghana, who is facing backlash for marrying a 12-year-old girl, has insisted that the marriage was not about sexual relationship. A spokesperson of the priest said the girl is expected to help the priest with his “spiritual duties”. Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII, a spiritual leader in the Nungua area of the capital, Accra, wed the unidentified child in a huge ceremony on Saturday. Mr Tsuru, known as a “Gborbu Wulomo,” or traditional high priest, wields significant spiritual authority in the Nungua indigenous community.

After the widespread controversy, the girl and her mother were placed under police protection and Ghana’s attorney general opened an investigation, as per a report in South China Morning Post (SCMP).

“The allegations, if proven, constitute a criminal offence for which all persons involved must face prosecution,” the outlet quoted the attorney general’s office as saying in a statement.

Under Ghanaian law, the legal minimum age for marriage is 18.

But the priest’s spokesperson defended his action, saying the girl is not expected to fulfil marital duties until she reaches the legal age of consent, which is 16 in Ghana.

“It’s not a marriage ceremony. There is nothing sexual attached to it. The priest has three customary wives already. It’s a customary role to help the priest with his spiritual duties,” spokesperson Mankralo Shwonotalor said, as per the SCMP report.

Images of the wedding ceremony were widely circulated on social media. It showed dozens of community members attended the event. As per the BBC, women who attended the ceremony were heard telling the girl to be prepared for wifely duties and to use perfumes to boost hear appeal to her husband.

The women also advised her to dress teasingly for her husband, according to the outlet.

The photos triggered a public outcry by many Ghanaians who pointed out that the practice was illegal. Critics have also called for the authorities to dissolve the marriage and investigate the priest.

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