Laws can help deal with witchcraft menace in Ghana – UG Lecturer

Senior lecturer at the department for the Study of Religion at the University of Ghana, Dr Harry Agbanu, has noted that laws must be enacted to deal with issues of witchcraft in the country.

Dr Agbanu told Alfred Ocansey on the Sunrise show on 3 92.7FM Tuesday August 11 that the issues of witchcraft have become deeply-rooted among those who practice it. This he said, has resulted in untold hardship on people, especially old women who are mostly accused of being witches.

He also suggested that the state must make conscious effort to educate the people against the practice.

There have been calls for the closure of witch camps following the recent lynching of a 90-year-old woman at Kafaba near Salaga in the Savannah Region, on the accusation that she was a witch.

The incident happened on Thursday, July 23 in the East Gonja Municipality.

Dr Agbanu told Ocansey that, “unfortunately witchcraft has been one of those beliefs that have been rooted deeply in our religious beliefs and cultural practices. And so it becomes a very difficult problem to solve.”

“Legislation may help,” he suggested, adding that : “But some time ago I was talking to the US embassy when they visited my office to discuss how I think that we can eradicate this belief which is bringing untold hardship on our women folks.

“I suggested empaneling a multidisciplinary group of experts from religion to sociology, from anthropology, from law so that we can visit the areas and see what we can do.

“Because this needs education, it needs some change of beliefs on the part of those who are practicing obnoxious traditions.”

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Government cannot close witch camps without a plan

Meanwhile, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Cynthia Mamle Morrison has said the government cannot just close down the witch camps in the northern part of Ghana without a proper plan put in place for the women who have been locked-up in those camps.

She told Alfred Ocansey on the Sunrise morning show on 3FM Monday, August 10 that the government will have to prepare a special budget to cater for the women if they are eventually evacuated from the place.

Decent accommodation, she said, will also have to be provided for them after they are moved.

Mrs Morrison noted although the calls for the closure of the camps are in order, the government will act based on proper planning.

The Gender Minister insisted: “It is not just a matter of closing the witches’ camp. When you close the witches’ camp where are you taking them to?

“We have to know where we are taking them and make sure that where we are taking them there is enough food for them to eat, whether we have a budget for it and all that.

“Some of them may even run to the bush if we are not carful so we need a dialogue on this. As for the withes’ camp, the name itself is something that I don’t like so that name will go.”

BY Laud Nartey||Ghana