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Traditions must be subsumed under constitution – Lawyer Jalaldeen

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A human rights lawyer and the Upper East regional director of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), lawyer Abdulai Jalaldeen, has admonished traditional rulers in Ghana to synchronize their cultural practices with the laws of the country to avoid frequent conflicts between culture and the Constitution.

His comment came on the back of recent news of a purported marriage between a 13-year-old girl and a 63-year-old Ga priest at Nungua in the Greater Accra Region, which has stirred public outcry.

Speaking on the Daybreak Upper East show, Lawyer Jalaldeen says traditional rulers should do self-introspection on some of their cultural practices in order to promote peace in society.

He said, “If you go back to our Constitution, especially Article 26, it talks about our tradition and culture. It gives us room to do self-introspection because it says that we should uphold our culture and religion dearly. It goes further to say that any of the practices that are dehumanizing and degrading to the mental well-being of the person are prohibited. So it doesn’t come out to say that the Nungua traditional council, this your act is prohibited, but let’s now do self-introspection. Our constitution says that you cannot marry a girl below 18 years. So if you have a culture or tradition that says that you can marry below 18 years, that means you need to synchronize. That is the self-introspection we can do so that you don’t have the law enforcement agencies coming into your system to tell you to bring out all your traditional practices, then I will tell you what is right.”

Lawyer Jalaldeen therefore calls on security agencies to invite the persons involved in the Nungua alleged child marriage for questioning to ascertain the reality of the case. He said, “If you ask me who are those to be invited for questioning, the chief priest can be invited for questioning, those who were there performing the rites, spectators can be invited for questioning. And when the investigation is carried out, remember after investigation that we can say a crime is committed, then we take you to court and the court then confirms or otherwise. But investigation can prove otherwise; there is something that we might be seeing, but when you conduct further investigation, even what we are seeing was not the reality. So I think that a lot of people can be invited for questioning.”

Source: A1Radioonline.Com|101.1MHZ|Samuel Adagom|Bolgatanga|

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