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General News of Saturday, 19 May 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

Northern Region MDAs adopt by-laws to protect alleged witches

Four district assemblies in the Northern Region have adopted a set of by-laws in order to protect ostracized women camped at isolated locations.

The by-laws are expected to deal with cases such as witchcraft accusations, child and forced marriages and banishment, among other things.

The Gushiegu, East Mamprusi, Yendi and Nanumba South districts all host camps for alleged witches.

The assemblies are to provide the requisite infrastructure to facilitate the promotion of justice delivery.

Assembly members, traditional rulers, the Clergy, religious youth and women groups and vulnerable persons are the targeted change Ambassadors.
The crusade is being sponsored by STAR-Ghana with funding from DANIDA, UKaid and the European Union.

The initiative is dubbed, “Securing safety and protection for Women accused of witchcraft.”

Executive Director of Women and Child Rights protection group, Songtaba, Hajia Lamnatu Adam, at the official ceremony in Tamale, commended the assemblies for adopting the by-laws.

She urged the other assemblies to join the crusade saying, “I urge the rest of the districts in the Northern Region to also try and adopt the by-laws to help curb the problem of witchcraft accusations and child marriages which impact negatively on the socio-economic development of women and young girls.”

The Yendi Municipal Coordinating Director, Gaspard K. Dery lauded the initiative adding that “the by-laws will regulate the way we do things in the municipality and the laws will be protecting the vulnerable, the weak and the marginalised as well as the able-bodied producers in society.”

Regional Development Planning officer at the Northern Regional Coordinating Council, Alhaji Abdul Karim Adam underscored the need for the assemblies involved to religiously comply with the by-laws.

Songtaba has, since 2017, been implementing a one-year project that seeks to provide security for citizens especially women and children in the four MDAs.
Witchcraft accusations and child marriages, as well as other forms of human rights abuse, are very rampant in the four MDAs.

For instance, the Gnani and Kpatinga witch camps are located in the Yendi Municipality, the Kukuo witch camp in Nanumba South, the Gambaga witch camp in East Mamprusi and the Nabuli witch in the Gushegu Municipality.

An estimated 300 alleged witches, mostly aged women, live in these five camps and their only source of livelihood or survival is through the benevolence of philanthropists and charity organisations like Songtaba.