Witch camps to be renovated and not completely closed – Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection

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Recent attacks on women suspected to be witches are becoming rampant in Ghana. In July 2020, a 90- year old woman by name, Akua Denteh, was lynched for allegedly being a witch. The incidence occurred Kafaba near Salaga in the Savannah Region. Fast forward into August 2020, Meiri Ibrahim was attacked in her house on allegation of being a witch.

The incidence occurred at about 10:00 PM on Saturday, August 29th 2020, at SUmpini in the West Gonja District of the Savannah region. Meiri was attacked with a machete by some young men in the locality, leaving her with deep cuts. The development has received various forms of condemnation from the general public as well as the media.

Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, Mrs Cynthia Morrison (Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection) noted that the Government is putting up processes to present a bill to the House of Parliament, which would seek to regulate the activities of witchcraft accusations in the country.

According to the Gender Minister, the bill, when passed, would allow for prosecution of persons who accuse and assault individuals alleged to be witches. A section of Ghanaians has called for the closure of camps purposed for housing suspected witches. The sad part of the whole situation is that the accused persons are individuals in their old ages, which thus makes the situation worse and inhuman.

Commenting on the call for the closure of witch camps in the country, Mrs Morrison noted that “We were thinking of totally closing down the witches’ camps, but when we got there we realised that it is not as easy as sitting in Accra and thinking that you have to close the witches’ camps. “So, before we returned to Accra, we told them that we are going to enact a law that will prevent people from lynching anybody.”

She further explained the Government’s decision to renovate the camps rather than closing them down. Mrs Morrison indicated that the practice is culturally centred. Where one is accused or suspected to be a witch, such a person is denounced by the society and his or her family, said the Gender Minister.

She, thus, believes renovating the camps, regulating activities of accusers against suspected witches and ensuring the safety of the inhabitants at the camps would be a better option to the complete closure of these camps.

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