Parliament has passed the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2022 which among other things seeks to prevent attacks on alleged witches.
The private member’s bill sponsored by the Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu and four other MPs is to prohibit any persons from operating as a witch doctor or a witchfinder.
The law also proscribes the declaration, accusation, naming or labelling of another person as a witch.
Many women, particularly in the northern part of the country, have been murdered or attacked over accusations of witchcraft.
In the year 2020, 89-year-old Akua Denteh in Kafaba was lynched following witchcraft allegations levelled against her. Her attackers were later arrested, prosecuted and jailed.
The passage of the bill aims at preventing such attacks.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, said “The Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2022 is read the 3rd time and passed”.
The lead proponent of the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2022, MP for Madina Francis Xavier Sosu, says the government would be expected to take steps in ensuring that alleged witches in various witch camps across the country are reintegrated into society.
Speaking to journalists, the Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis Xavier Sosu, says the passage of the bill will correct the ills in society.
“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 8th parliament has found the needful to pass it. It’s going to correct lots of ills in society, I’m confident that we are just building a better society for ourselves,” he said.
He also urged the president to immediately sign the bill into law.
“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 settings, 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” he said.