Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu, says all witch camps in Ghana are illegal due to the passage of the Criminal Amendment Bill 2022, which prohibits the declaration, accusation, naming or labelling of another person as a witch.
The amendment, which also prohibits anyone from practising as a witch doctor or witchfinder, was passed on Thursday, July 27, 2023.
Addressing the media after the passage of the bill, the human rights lawyer said, “It’s such goodness that I cannot hide my joy now, the reason being that all the 539 persons locked up in witch camps across the country are looking up to us to take some decisive steps in dealing with the situation”.
“This problem has been with us for over 100 years, and we have been struggling to deal with it”.
“To the extent that this 8th Parliament has found the needful to pass it into law, for me, It’s going bring about a mind-shift. It is going to correct lots of ills in society, I’m confident that we are just building a better society for ourselves,” he said.
He added, “We urge the president that this is another opportunity for us to up our ranking in human rights globally. I do believe he is very concerned about our human rights profile. I’m confident that he will sign it immediately into law”.
“What we are saying is that you cannot accuse somebody of witchcraft. If you do, that’s criminal, and so the law will take its cause. We are not interfering in anybody’s cultural setting. If you are using your wizardly or witchcraft for positive development, go ahead and do it. But if you accuse somebody based on your black magic, or charms, that is not acceptable,” that’s where the problem is.”
“By the passing of this law, it means that all witch camps stand proscribed. In other words, they are all illegal”, he noted.
Currently, there are some witch camps in Bonyasi, Gambaga, Gnani, Kpatinga, Kukuo and Naabuli, all in northern Ghana, where people have been camped with the tag of being witches.
It will be recalled that a report by The Ghana Report on July 21, 2023, highlighted a statement by the Coalition Against Witchcraft Accusation (CAWA) calling on Parliament to pass the anti-witchcraft accusation law immediately.
The coalition lamented delays in the passage of the law criminalizing witchcraft accusations in the country.
Consequently, the law has been passed, and their objective of seeking justice for innocent people being accused of witchcraft has been achieved.