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NewsNetizens slam Gabby Otchere-Darko over child marriage remarks

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Netizens slam Gabby Otchere-Darko over child marriage remarks

A prominent member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Gabby Otchere-Darko, is currently the subject of attack after questioning why individuals seeking to protect Ghana’s family values have not called for harsher sentences for individuals caught engaging and promoting child marriage.

Mr Otchere-Darko made the comment amidst investigations into a contentious marriage between a minor and Nungua’s elder, Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII, aged 63. 

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Per the Children’s Act 1998 (Act 560), an adult caught forcing a minor into marriage face a maximum jail term of 12 months or fines up to 5 million cedis (500 Ghana Cedis).

In a post on the X platform, wondered why the country is seeking to impose a “stiffer” sentence on consenting adults in the LGBTQ community who decide to have an amorous relationship, or any promotion, sponsorship or support of LGBTQ activities when a situation such as child marriage which involves an adult and a minor prescribes a lighter sentence.

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In what appears to be a jab to anti-LGBTQ bill promoters including Ningo-Prampram MP, Sam George, Gabby Otchere-Darko wrote, “In Ghana, you face a maximum jail term of 12 months if you force a minor into marriage, according to Children’s Act 1998 (Act 560).”

“Once assented, the law that seeks to presumably protect our family values (which ignores child marriage by the way) will impose a prison sentence of up to five years for the “wilful promotion, sponsorship or support of LGBTQ+ activities”. In fact two consenting adults of same sex face a stiffer sentence if they are found kissing in public than the 70-year old man who marries a 14-year old girl.”

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But his concern has not been welcomed by some users on X platform who believe that Mr Otchere-Darko cannot be selective of national issues in his calls for a better governance for the country.

Some users noted that it is imperative the NPP member also clarify some allegations levelled against him that are said to have cost the taxpayers a significant amount of money.

Former Minister for Energy, Boakye Agyarko, during an interview on Kumasi-based Asanteman FM, reportedly shared some alleged incidents that occurred during the re-negotiation of the 250 Megawatts Ameri Power Plant.

According to a news report by energynewsafrica.com, Agyarko claimed that Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, a prominent figure in the NPP, renegotiated the Ameri deal without obtaining consent from the government committee assigned to work on the deal.

Upon confronting Gabby about the matter, Agyarko asserted that he was told to keep quiet because President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was already informed about the actions taken by Gabby.

Agyarko recounted that he received a call from Gabby while he was on a flight to the United States, during which Gabby expressed frustration at not being able to reach him.

Gabby has refuted this claim.

Child marriage

The Children’s Act 1998 (Act 560), amended in 2016, safeguards children’s rights against forced betrothal and marriage.

The Constitution of Ghana also defines anyone below 18 as a child, ineligible for marriage. Sections 14 and 15 of the Children’s Act explicitly state the right of children to reject betrothal and marriage, setting the legal marriage age at 18.

The recent alleged marriage has ignited a fierce debate, with many condemning the act on social media and demanding the arrest of the Ga-Dangme States’ Overlord. Despite the uproar, some authorities have defended the marriage, citing cultural practices.

Presently, the Supreme Court is set to hear the unconstitutional claims levelled against the anti-LGBTQ bill which has been approved by Parliament but yet to receive a presidential assent by Nana Akufo-Addo.

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