A team of experts from the Ghana Sociological and Anthropological Association has made recommendations which they believe when followed thoroughly can mitigate the incidence of violence against people alleged to possess witchcraft.
Contained in a research report, the association’s contribution to this subject matter comes on the back of recent attacks on some persons believed to be witches, the most recent being the lynching of the 90-year-old Akua Danteh in the Savannah Region and the beating of an epileptic in the Ahafo Region.
The association observes in its report that the belief in witchcraft is prevalent in Ghana and has been documented in almost all ethnic groups in Ghana since the pre-colonial period, a phenomenon they seek to better educate the Ghanaian public on.
It also observes among other worrying trends that the abuse of the rights of a person accused of witchcraft are rife in camps and sanctuaries, a place where they are supposed to be seeking refuge. The association assesses the dynamics and demographics that predispose one to be accused of witchcraft.
The association thus wants education to be intensified to demystify witchcraft. In that regard, they are calling on the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), as well as Municipalities, Metropolitan and District Assemblies (MMDAs) across the country, to join hands with traditional and religious leaders, youth groups and women’s organizations to embark on an intensive education of the people.
They also recommend that action be taken when there are reported cases of violence and brutalities associated with witchcraft. This, they say requires the Attorney General’s Department to act swiftly without fear or favour and prosecute individuals, groups, religious leaders and community members who violate the rights of other citizens through physical attacks, mob violence, expulsions and other inhuman treatment.
Meanwhile, the association has given its word to avail itself to collaborate with central and local government agencies, local and international NGOs and CSOs, religious and traditional leaders and other groups in the endeavour to research into, explain, and demystify the complex phenomenon of witchcraft and work towards eliminating the abuses associated with witchcraft accusations in Ghana.