Muntaka likens cohabitation to armed robbery, drug trafficking; vows to oppose it in Parliament

“Cohabitation is alien and immoral. We will not accept it in our body of laws.”

That is the strong view of the Majority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak ahead of what would be a heated debate on the floor of Parliament tomorrow over the controversial issue on whether cohabitation should be allowed the right of place in the country’s laws.

The House is considering passing the Property Rights of Spouses Bill which will, among other things, regulate how properties of spouses will be shared in the event of a breakup of marriage.

However for couples who are not married but are living together, how would properties be shared in the event of a break-up?

The cohabitation section of the Property Rights of Spouses Bill aims at providing basic protection for cohabitants, especially females.

A woman may qualify to share in the property of a man she has lived with for more than 6 months even if they are not legally married.

Joy News has learnt attempts by some MPs on the Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to re-introduce co-habitation into the bill was fiercely resisted on religious grounds.

Member of the Committee George Loh told Joy News’ Parliamentary correspondent, Elton Brobbey, the house will have a final say on the matter.

Loh said the main focus of the Bill is to take into consideration the contribution of a spouse in the acquisition of a property and how that property would be shared in the event of a dissolution of the marriage.

On cohabitation, the Committee member said the members were quite divided on the issue and expected an even more intense debate when the Bill is brought before the floor.

The Majority Chief Whip in an interview with Joy News’ Evans Mensah gave a scintilla of what to expect when the bill is brought on the floor.

“One thing I can tell you for sure is that some of us will oppose it. We will go a long way to explain to other members why we should not encourage it.

“…We should not allow people’s emotions to be used as basis for promulgating laws.

“We can’t say because so many of these [are] happening today in our country therefore we should allow it to happen. There are so many armed robberies, then we should legalise armed robberies. There is so much drug trafficking then we should legalise it,” he suggested.

He said cohabitation has no place in Ghana’s culture, adding, the fact that cohabitation is practiced in other countries does not mean it should be done here.

Esther Obeng Dapaah a member of the Committee agreed largely to the views expressed by the Majority Chief Whip.

She said marriage is a godly institution and should not be polluted with the phenomenon of cohabitation.

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