11.05.2005 Regional News

Youth to review high bride price

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Jenbob (U/W), May 11, GNA - The outright payment of between six and 12 cows as bride price before marrying young ladies among the ethnic group in the Upper West Region was scaring a lot of young men from marrying from their traditional set ups. The practice is also impoverishing parents who have to work for a so many years to acquire cows before their sons can marry.

Mr Peter Figela, President of the Wa Brifor Community Association who disclosed these during a general meeting of the association at Jenbob in the Wa West district of the Upper West region said the youth had embarked on an educational programme to review the trend of affairs in the area.

He said the high bride price had also brought about immorality among some women as they were compelled to bring forth children without traditional marriage due to high bride price.

Under the customs and traditions of the area half of the cows are given to the parents of the bride while the other half is give to the maternal uncles of the bride before a man can marry her. Mr Figela said they would also fight tooth and nail to abolish the current betrothal system in their customs, which empowered the suitors of girls in school to withdraw them from school for marriage. Such a system, he said was not only old-fashioned but was retarding girl-child education on which the government was placing a lot of emphasis.

Mr. Figela said the high bride price had also rendered some of the young ladies unattractive as potential suitors fear to get near them because of the numerous cows demand as bride price. He also pledged the support of the association to fight against female genital mutilation, which he said, was still practised in their communities.

The president also appealed for the construction of a technical and vocational school at Jenbob to take care of students around the Brifor areas to improve on their educational standards.

Mr. Ibrahim Sey, a member of the association attributed the high rate of migration from the areas to other urban centres to the high bride price where parents no longer help to pay for their sons. He said in order to enable the youth to pay their wives' bride price they migrate to southern Ghana to do all kinds of menial jobs to pay their bride price.

Mr Sey said they would do their best to abolish practices that have become inimical to development.

Later in a meting with Mr Ambrose Dery, Upper West Regional Minister, he commended them for taking bold steps to review some of the practices that impeded development.

He promised ttem that the government in due time would provide them with their share of the national cake and urged them to co-operate with their district assembly.

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