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Amend Children’s Act to reflect age for betrothal – Kpebu | 3News

Amend Children’s Act to reflect age for betrothal – Kpebu | 3News

Private legal practitioner Martin Kpebu has asserted that the state should amend Section 14 of the Children’s Act 1998, Act 560, to reflect the age at which a young girl can be betrothed to another man.

Lawyer Kpebu was of the view that Section 14 of the Act is not clear on the age for a child to be betrothed.

Speaking to Alfred Ocansey on Ghana Tonight yesterday [Tuesday, March 2], lawyer Kpebu said, “So the question is, at what age can she consent to betrothal?

The Section 14 doesn’t state, rather it is marriage that is stated in the [Section] 14(2)”.

According to Section 14(2) of the Act, the minimum age for any form of marriage is eighteen (18).

Lawyer Kpebu further argued that the context within which betrothal is granted in the Ghanaian setting makes it imperative to amend the law to clearly state the age at which a young girl can give consent to be betrothed.

“The context in which betrothal has been used, and what we know it as it is, is not marriage…it is a transaction that when the child grows up and is of marriageable age then the marriage takes place.

“So for the lawmaker to have used to be betrothed once and then betrothal once so like two times, they intended it to be different from marriage,” lawyer Martin Kpebu explained.

He emphasised that the Act is clear on the minimum age for marriage, which is eighteen but the same cannot be said for betrothal, hence the need to amend the law.

“We cannot say the minimum age for betrothal is eighteen, we can’t because there is no express provision,” he told Alfred Ocansey.

The GaDangme Council, in a statement dated Monday, April 1, clarified that the relationship between the 12-year-old girl and the Gborbu Wulomo of Nungua is a betrothal and not marriage.

Nuumo Borketey Laweh XXXIII, the 63-year-old Gborbu Wulomo of Nungua, faced backlash following a marriage ceremony with a 12-year-old girl, Naa Okromo.

“It is important to clarify that the traditional ruler has stated that the relationship with the underage girl is a betrothal and not a marriage.

This distinction to us has altered the legal implications.”

“We are inclined to side with the Gborbu Wulomo since the original reportage made the point that there was another ceremony that awaited the girl to purify and prepare her for procreation,” the statement reads in parts.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Police Service has rescued the 12-year-old and her mother, and both are under police protection.

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