The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Cynthia Mamle Morrison has called on parliament to pass legislation to protect persons accused of witchcraft in Ghana.
She said it is unacceptable and against the laws of the country to take away someone’s life because you think the person is a witch.
According to her, instituting the legislation will curtail the incessant attacks on individuals labeled as witches or wizards which sometimes result in the loss of lives of the accused persons.
Last week, the Gender Minister together with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Gender paid a working visit to the two witches’ camps situated at Gnani and Kpatinga in the northern region on the need to integrate the alleged witches back into their communities.
The delegation first called on the Ya Naa at the Gbewa Palace where Chairman of the committee Dr Appiah Kubi explained the mandate of the committee to the Dagbon Overlord.
He said the committee is concerned about the various dimensions associated with the existence of these camps housing the alleged witches.
Dr Appiah Kubi said these camps somehow have age, gender and poverty dimensions, observing that a lot of the victims are women and children.
He noted that the deprived conditions at the facilities are of great concern to the committee.
Dr Appiah Kubi said their visit is to have first-hand information about the prevailing conditions and report same to the Speaker of Parliament for urgent intervention by the executive arm of government.
Ya Naa Abukari II welcomed the intervention by the government and assured the delegation of his full support to find a lasting solution to the issue.
He said as then Paramount Chief of Savelugu issues of witchcraft were handled diligently and the suspects reintegrated into the community.
Ya Naa commended the work of the committee and the ministry and said the Gbewa palace is determined and committed to support them to deliver their mandate to the country.
Addressing Journalists during the visit, the Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister said the government is looking at providing a safe haven for these alleged witches.
She hinted that the government will hold discussions and dialogue with the Ya Naa Abukari II as the traditional authority in the area and other stakeholders on the need to shut down the camps and reunite the victims with their families.
The minister urged the media to continue to sensitize and educate the public to abstain from attacking and lynching individuals suspected to witches.
The country was shocked with the gruesome killing of 90-year-old Akua Denteh at Kafaba in the East Gonja municipality after she was accused of witchcraft by a sorcerer.
Several individuals are standing trial at the Bole District Court in connection with the murder of the woman.
As a result, the Gender Minister argued that there must be legislation to make sure that these things are curbed.
The minister announced that the ministry intends to group the victims into groups and give them various forms of support to uplift their economic status. She said those who are still strong enough to farm will be given the requisite farming inputs to make their farming fruitful.
“We are going to look at how we can enrol them on LEAP (Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty) programme so that at the end of the month they have something little and I also hear some of them also cook and sell here and we are going to have a conversation with them and look at how to help them”, Mrs Cynthia Morrison stated.