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Ministry Of Gender,Others Address Gender Based Violence In Ghana,Propose Closure of Witch Camps

As part of efforts to address gender based violence and to end all negative and harmful traditions in the country, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and other stakeholders have on yesterday 7th August,2020 organized an emergency meeting to drastically deal with  unfortunate happenings meted out to women and  the less privileged in the Society.
Addressing the gathering at the Kempinski Hotel in  Accra,Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection,
Hon Cynthia Mamle Morrison added a bigger voice to the condemnation of the treatment meted out by society and religious practitioners to women in most cases the vulnerable, low in social and economic status, recently in the case of Madam Akua Denteh,the 90 year old woman who was beaten to death because she was pronounced a witch.
The gender minister strongly urged the judiciary, police service and Gender Ministry to cut off the consistent habit of dragging issues like that of Akua Dentah  in court which she said  doesn’t yield results but frustration.
Adding  that, if an individual knows there is an exemplary punishment to such crimes, he or she will desist from such acts.
According to him, paramount Chiefs in most of the communities have advised that it takes months, even into a year before these women accused of witchcraft are beaten and shamed publicly, hence when stakeholders act swiftly, issues won’t be repeated and this misfortune will be contained appropriately.
 She deduced that,  Madam Akua Denteh’s death has really put them on their toes to push all mediums to prevent such incidents from happening again in Ghana.
“I have personally gone to the witch camp the incident took place to access the situation on the grounds and will go back after parliament rises for a stakeholders meeting with the chiefs and parties involved, after which I will file a report to the committee cabinet for review and assessment”.She said.
She hinted that,government and Partners are willing to support this fight.
” We have buildings that can undergo rehabilitation to house these accused women especially those who may not be able to go home.
It’s a gradual process we are starting from the North,where  the issue happened and bring to the south and across all the country.”She further indicated.
She then urged all Ghanaians, especially religious leaders to rather pray for persons accused of witchcraft rather than to  lynch them.
Hon. Nana AMA Dokua Asiamah-Adjei,Deputy Minister for Information on her part questioned the genuineness of praying for long life and coming back to fight our mothers and grandmothers who grow older.
She said,discrimination and violence against women should be eliminated completely because innocent lives are lost and family ties are cut.
Public awareness should be projected to the girl child and laws should be created and enforced to curb such practices.She added.
Ms.Hilary Gbedemah Chairperson, Cedaw, UN said, it’s not a great pleasure to speak on the issue of Madam Akua Denteh due to the reputation of Ghana being tarnished by this inhuman act.
She said.the lynching of Madam Akua Denteh is an example of many women who have lost their lives due to discrimination against women.
She questioned that, why is that rich women and men are not  treated as such, hence it’s an issue of social and economic status where the poor are taken advantage of.
She proposed for a total closure of all witch camps  due to the difficult living conditions they operate under.
Director of  Capacity Development and Outreach, National Peace Council,Ms. Janet Darnley-Kumah maintained that,the council wish to add its voice to the condemnation across the country by individuals, civil society, faith based organizations, traditional leaders and the government on the gruesome lynching of Grandma Akua Denteh in the East Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region, Kafaba.
She deduced that,the action reflects the insensitivity of a section of the population to gender issues and disregard to old age.
 Adding that, it’s a collective effort as responsible Ghanaians to stand up against any act of violence at all levels, stand up for the rights of women and girls including the vulnerable.
“The NPC is calling for the closure of all witch camps across the country.
We should show love to the elderly and that old age is a blessing not a curse.
The National Peace Council would also like to use this occasion to call on political parties and electoral actors to respect the laws governing elections in Ghana and follow due democratic processes in the desire for political office.”She indicated.
Rev. Steve Mensah,
General Overseer Of Charismatic Evangelistic Ministry speaking at the event   emphasized that a lot is said and read at conferences and forums and even in the media when it comes to issues such as the unfortunate death of Madam Akua Denteh and many others who have suffered same but little action is taken.
He condemned the act from all angles of religion and society and called for support and needed funding to empower the Gender Ministry to eradicate discrimination and such barbaric acts.
He also called for the closure of all witch camps in the country. Lartey Lawson

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