To encourage the passage of the Anti-Witchcraft Bill in Parliament, a coalition called the Anti-Witchcraft Accusations Bill has been established.
The Coalition, which was established on May 18, 2023, is committed to eradicating the risks brought on by the charge of witchcraft.
The Anti-witchcraft Bill aims to make it illegal to declare, accuse, name, or identify persons as witches while also offering victims protection.
One of the Coalition’s Conveners, Professor John Azumah of the Sanneh Institute, discussed the Coalition’s function with media on the margins of the launch.
“Our task is to really push for a bill that criminalises witchcraft accusations and our second task to really help with the education of the import of the bill but also to make victims know that they have been empowered. That there is some kind of a bill that gives them the encouragement and confidence to speak out and to challenge when people accuse them of witchcraft.
“Finally it is to work towards reintegrating some of the victims who are currently languishing in some of the camps.”
According to Professor Azumah, the alliance will collaborate with chiefs, headmen, and other civil society organizations to determine how to best reintegrate them back into their cultures.
Because it is a private members’ bill, he observed, the coalition will assist Parliament in aiding their efforts to move the bill through the necessary steps and into becoming law.
“We must be present to influence the MPs. Although we, as Civil Society Organizations, are unable to cast votes, we can press lawmakers, which is one of the things the Coalition will do to ensure that the bill is passed, he said.
Francis-Xavier Sosu, an advocate for the Anti-Witchcraft Accusation Bill in Parliament and a member of the coalition, also discussed the significance of the coalition in reference to Article 15 of the 1992 Constitution, which emphasizes that every Ghanaian’s dignity is inviolable.
“When you look at the statistics available, anytime people are accused of witchcraft they are even chained to either trees or some metals in some traditional homes. Some are mistreated in some churches, some are referred to witch camps mostly in the North, all these people are mistreated,” Mr Sosu stated.