As Parliament Proposes A Draft Bill On Witchcraft

Rt Hon Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament Rt Hon Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament

Last Friday, August 13, before the House went on recess as the Second Meeting of the 4th Session (Year) of the 7th Parliament ended, it proposed a draft bill that will among other objectives prohibit the practice of professional Witchcraft or Wizardry and the declaration of a person as a Witch or Wizard and the molestation of a person on suspicion of being a Witch or Wizard.

According to the Speaker, Rt Hon Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, a Consultant on Private Members Bill, who has been engaged by Parliament is working on the draft bill which will be submitted to the House for consideration and passage into Law.

This bill has became necessary, following public outcry over the recent beating to death of a 90-year-old woman, Akua Mariama Denteh, in the Savannah Region by a group of persons on suspicion that the 90-year-old Woman was a Witch.

This newspaper joined many Ghanaians in condemning the barbaric act and has since called for the swift prosecution of all those, who took part in not only desecrating the life of an unharmed woman, but putting a spotlight on the country for a wrong reason.

Justice delayed, it is said is justice denied. There was video evidence, which is incontrovertible and so all the state agencies responsible in giving Madam Akua Denteh justice, even in death must act with dispatch.

We commend our lawmakers for considering a bill of such nature. It is our hope that, when the House resumes from recess, it will be among the first bills to be considered for passage, which we also will be signed into law expeditiously to stem the tide of killing the elderly in the society, all in the name of witchcraft.

This bill needs the support of all Ghanaians, but before then, let us give Madam Akua Denteh, the justice she deserves, that will also serve as deterrent to others who might be thinking of engaging in another ignoble act.

In the first place, an accused person is presumed innocent until proved guilty before a court of law. An evidence- based legal process is followed to arrive at a judgement.

It is an incontestable fact that those who engage in mob justice are worse criminals than those they judge, and so the state must send a strong warning to them that, Madam Akua Denteh, is their last victim. Never again, should any humanbeing be put through this barbaric act. We are not in a jungle.