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24.09.2002 Tabloid News

Forced marriage aborted

By The Spectator
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The timely intervention by the Police and officials of the Department of Social Welfare at Elmina in the Central Region saved a 16-year-old girl from being forcibly offered for marriage by her parents.

The Malian couple, Alhaji Mamudu and Madam Zenabu Mamudu, resident at Komenda, attempted to betroth their daughter, Fati, to her own uncle, said to be living abroad.

The would-be husband is a brother to the girl's mother, Madam Zenabu. While the couple was discussing how to go about the forced marriage formalities in their room, Fati heard about the plan and quickly wrote to inform the Girls' Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service, last 6 July.

About 3 p.m on 12 July, Miss Lucy Ofori Agyeman of the Komenda Edina Eguafo Assembly (KEEA), office of Social Welfare received the letter written by Fati, a final year student of Komenda J.S.S.

In the letter, the girl disagreed with her parents since she wanted to continue with her education to become a Chartered Accountant in future. The district Social Welfare Officer after the letter sought the assistance of the Komenda Police and contacted the victim’s father who confirmed the girl’s story. Madam Zenabu also confirmed their intention and said Fati was their only daughter and therefore they wanted her to be customarily and properly married.

She said because of the intended marriage, she provided their daughter with a sewing machine to lean dressmaking instead of continuing her education at the Senior Secondary level. But Fati, she said, refuse to take her parents’ advice.

After completing her J.S.S exams, the victim was kept indoors by her parents and was prevented from attending extra classes to enable her to re-write the cancelled JSS exams. The Social Welfare officials took up the matter and arraigned the couple before the Elmina Community Tribunal.

The department prayed the court for an order to prevent the couple from giving out their daughter for early marriage. Additionally, the office requested the court to compel the couple to allow their daughter to continue her education, apart from preventing them from taking Fati out of the court’s jurisdiction without its notification.

The tribunal chairman, Mr Anthony Agbedzin granted the orders. Later, Miss Agyeman told ‘The Spectator’ that the intended action of the couple was contrary to Section 11,14 (a and c) of Act 560 of 1998 and Section 100 of Act 554 of the Criminal Amendment Act of 1998.

The Act states among others that “no person shall deprived a child the right to participate in decisions which affect his well-being no person shall force a child to be betrothed. And if a female is compelled to marry another person by duress as to make the marriage void and voidable, the marriage is of no effect.

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