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Acholi Cultural Leaders Review Traditional Marriage Regulations

David Onen Acana II, the Acholi Paramount Chief says the meeting scheduled to be held in two weeks’ time will broadly look into all proposals being discussed for possible enactments as laws on traditional marriage.
Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Acana [Right] signs a committment with youth in the region to end child marriage. Photo by julius ocungi

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The Acholi Cultural Institution is set to convene a meeting for the council of chiefs to discuss guiding policies on regulating traditional marriage and curbing child marriage.

Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Acana II says that the leaders, will not only discuss the amount of money paid in terms of dowry but will also focus on determining who is right for marriage. His message comes in the wake of increased cases of child marriage and exaggerated prices sought by in-laws to sanction marriages.

A 2018 report released by Save the Children, a non-governmental organization operating in the region revealed that Nwoya district has the highest reported cases of child marriages standing at 68 percent.

Acana notes that the meeting will look at all ways of ensuring that child marriage among boys and girls and its associated influences in the region is ended.

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He says whereas the tradition has offered clear age for a girl to be married at 21 years of age, western influence, religion and some government policies have made it hard for them to end the vice.

For instance, Acana says, western cultural practices and religion have eroded the traditional culture and made it more of a crime to follow the culture putting their work as traditional leaders championing child marriage at stake.

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The Acholi Cultural Institution Prime Minister Ambrose Olaa says traditional marriage has been adulterated in the region and notes the council of the chief meeting will offer several suggestions aimed at improving it.

He notes that whereas the meeting will focus on addressing traditional marriage, several other issues affecting the region will also be discussed citing land matters among them.

Early this month, several political and cultural leaders in Acholi broke their silence on the exorbitant bride prices being asked by parents in exchange for their daughters’ hands in marriage citing it was abnormal and uncultured.    They called for urgent intervention of the cultural institution.