Ghana government says it will pass law to protect alleged witches

Government will soon establish rehabilitation shelters for alleged witches and enact a law to protect them from mistreatment, stigmatisation and societal discrimination.

The alleged witches would also be enrolled onto the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme to enhance their livelihoods and welfare.

The decision was reached when the Parliamentary Select Committee on Gender recently visited some witches camps at Gambaga and Gushiegu among other camps in the northern parts of the country.

Mrs Cynthia Mamle Morrison, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, announced this when she took her turn at the Meet-the-Press series in Accra on Wednesday.

She said the Ministry initially thought of closing down the “witches camps” in the northern parts of the country following the lynching of Akua Denteh at Kafaba in the Gonja East District of the Savannah Region.

“…But when we got there, we realised that it wasn’t easy as we sit in Accra and think because when someone sees you in his dreams and brand you a witch, you’re reported to the chief, and he performs a ritual, and if the fowl used for the ritual turns someway, the chief banishes you from the community,” she said.

The Minister explained that at the point the chief banished the alleged witch from the community, the victim was supposed to take refuge in a witch camp for her safety…saying, “If you refuse to leave and the youth get angry, nobody can rescue you even though the chief did not authorise lynching of any alleged witch”.

It was upon that basis that, she said, the Ministry intended to start a process of going to Parliament with a bill and subsequently pass it into law, to protect alleged witches from abuse and societal discrimination.

Mrs Morrison said the Ministry would set up a taskforce to carry out community sensitisation and dialogue to solicit inputs from the people towards the drafting of the bill.

She entreated civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and the media to support the laudable efforts of enacting a legislation to protect alleged witches and vulnerable persons in the country.

She said the belief in the existence of witchcraft was prevalent in the Ghanaian society, hence the need to take stringent measures to protect victims from stigmatisation and mistreatment.

Source: GNA

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