March 21, 2023

According to the Department of the Registrar General, 80% of marriages performed in Ghana under the imams of the Islamic faith are invalid.

The Registrar General’s Department’s Head of Marriages, Mr. Oladele Kwaku Aribike, revealed this at a round table discussion with the theme “Working together for a better Society” that was sponsored by the civic society organization Telling Ghana.

One of the core responsibilities of the Registrar General’s Department is to ensure the effective and efficient administration of entities, including the registration of marriages, for all Ghanaian citizens, regardless of their social standing or preferred religion.

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According to Mr. Aribike, the reason these marriages weren’t legal was that the couples neglected to register their unions within the country’s legal timeframe of one week.

“The bridegroom, the bride, two witnesses to the marriage and the Mohammadan priest licensed under section 31 shall before the expiration of one week after the celebration of the marriage attend at the office of the district assembly for the purpose of registering the marriage,” he said.

Adding that, “this means the marriage should be registered within one week of the celebration of the marriage if it is not registered within one week, that marriage is null and void. And on this, I will like to say on authority that almost 80 per cent of Islamic marriages are not valid.”

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Hon. Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, a member of parliament representing the Asawase Constituency, argued as a result that it was essential for the department to involve all stakeholders in extensive consultation on the process.

The passage of the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Bill, according to Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, who spoke on behalf of the National Chief Imam and added his voice to the discussion, will help to moderate the sharp increase in divorce cases in Muslim communities.

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