The African culture is one that is set on many beliefs. The believe in witchcraft is one of them. Witchcraft is deeply embedded in the African culture, and Ghanaians hold same beliefs. They believe these witches and wizards have supernatural powers to help people or cause mishaps if the need be – so they say.
The Government of Ghana has on many occassions tried to tackle these issues and close down these so called witch camps but to no avail. It seems it has even caused an upsurge in the number of witch camps that are springing up in the country.
In Ghana, although the belief in witchcraft is widespread; stories that highlight the detection and abuse of accused women are mostly picked from the North, thus reinforcing the false notion that the practice is only existent in Northern Ghana.
Unfortunately, a sick person who visits these witch camps for healing is told that a family member who turns out to be a witch is causing ll the bad things happening to him or her. The accused (mostly women) are brought to thee camps to confess. If the accused pleads innocent, they are physically abused and emotionally tormented.
According to the Executive Director of the Sanneh Institute and a native of Widana, Prof. John Azumah. “It has broken several marriages and homes. There are stories of young women being raped and impregnated by the young men the so-called witchdoctor has gathered around himself,” he told citinewsroom.com.
He said security agencies in the area are unable to clamp down on the activities of the witchdoctor due to support from those in power. “The young witch doctor seems to have the backing of some big men who intervene and plead for him to be released anytime he is arrested for assaulting women captured at his centre. He was recently arrested but the police did not even put him behind bars and released him for fear of what they said was a security threat from residents who believe in his spiritual powers.”
A few weeks ago, a 90-year-old woman was beaten to death in Kafaba in the Savannah Region after a soothsayer accused her of being a ‘witch’. This inhumane act triggered calls for the government to take action. It is heartening that the President and Gender Minister condemned this recent incident and promised to arrest the perpetrators. It will, however, take active measures to root out such an unjust act.
It is quite surprising at to how people would think that, their mothers, fathers or even grandparents would be behind their mishaps, and tag them witches and wizards. In my opinion of they wanted us dead they would have killed us the very first day they gave birth to us and wouldn’t have waited for us to grow only to see us suffer.