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Weekly Round-Up: Public Outcry as Priest Takes 12-year-old as Bride, Bright Simons and Mussa Dankwa Face Off on Ghana Card

It has been an exceptionally busy news week in Ghana with one major story dominating the headlines; the customary marriage rites for 12-year-old Naa Okromo. If you haven't had the time to follow the news, this update will give you a picture of all that we covered on the issue within the week.

It has been an exceptionally busy news week in Ghana with one major story dominating the headlines; the customary marriage rites for 12-year-old Naa Okromo. If you haven’t had the time to follow the news, this update will give you a picture of all that we covered on the issue within the week.


Public Outcry as Priest Takes 12-year-old, Police, CSOs React


There’s been so much public outcry since pictures of the customary marriage rites between the Gborbu Wulomo of Nungua, Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII, 63, and 12-year-old Naa Okromo emerged online.

The marriage was said to fulfill customary demands in the GaDangme community. We reported that the young bride, Naa Okromo, who will now be addressed as Naa Ayemoede will undergo a second customary ceremony, one centered on purification.

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The ceremony is also thought to empower her to carry out her anticipated responsibilities as a wife to Gborbu Wulomo, which includes bearing children.

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After pictures of the ceremony went viral on social media, many Ghanaians questioned the age gap and the significance of such traditions. Others also called on the Ghana Police Service and the Gender Ministry to intervene and discourage such traditional practices.

Following the backlash, the Ga Dangme Council released a statement clarifying that the ceremony was a mere betrothal and therefore had no legal implication.

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The council indicated that upon consultation with the Gborbu Wulomo and his elders, they’ve ruled out any legal implications based on the ceremony being betrothal and not a marriage. They have subsequently taken the sides of the Wulomo thus far.

But the Paramount Chief for the Sempe Traditional Area, Nii Adote Otintor II, was not pleased by the marriage between the 63-year-old Ga priest and the 12-year-old child. According to the Mankralo of the Ga State, the act was unwarranted and did not align with the customs of the Ga Dangbe people.

The Office of the Attorney-General also directed the Inspector-General of Police, and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Police Service to conduct investigations into the incident.

Several Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) including the Paediatric Society of Ghana condemned the marriage indicating that the country has made good progress towards eliminating this unpopular practice of child marriage, and actions like this could slow that progress down.

The Ghana Police said on April 2 that they had placed Naa Okromo and her mother under their protection and were investigating the matter with the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection and the Department of Social Welfare.

The public is yet to be updated on any further development.

Meanwhile, the Accra Times’ Oppong Baah has written an interesting feature about the mystery surrounding Naa Okromo. Read it here.


Bright Simmons and Mussa Dankwa Face Off  on Ghana Card


This week, the Executive Director at Global InfoAnalytics, Mussa Dankwa, responded to an article by IMANI vice president, Bright Simons on the Ghana card. Mr Simons claimed in his article last week that Ghana’s national Identity (ID) Card project has turned out to be a massive ripoff.

Mr Dankwa indicated in his rebuttal that Simons’ assertions cast a slur on the hard-earned reputation of those involved in structuring the project… “especially when the writer has not engaged the project partners to obtain the relevant project documents and information to fully understand the issues and the concerns that he may have about the project.”

This rebuttal also received a new response from Bright Simons who detailed the work history of Mussa Dankwa, highlighting failed projects that he has been involved with but ultimately insisting on his earlier claims that the project is a massive ripoff. Read the response here.

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