Gov’t to construct safe havens for alleged witches

Mrs Cynthia Morrison, Gender Minister

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cynthia Maamle Morrison, has announced that the government is working on putting together a law that will curb the issue of lynching of alleged witches, which is rapidly rising in some parts of the country.

The law, she explained, will cut across all areas, including religion, because the problem is a nationwide trend.

“It’s not only in the North that they lynch alleged witches, so the law will cover everyone, not only the chiefs who certify the victims as witches. The law will not be only for the North, but for Ghana, but once Parliament comes back from its recess, we will start the process,” she said.

Taking her turn at the Meet-the-Press series yesterday in Accra, Mrs Cynthia Morrison noted that stopping violence against elderly women would be difficult in the short term. However, the Ministry plans to renovate witch camps which are currently safe havens for victims of witchcraft accusations.

“The Ministry led a team, comprising members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Gender, Children and Social Protection, to assess the situation on the ground, as part of the way forward, and whilst we were moving, we focused on closing down the witches’ camp as the only solution. But when we got there, we realised that closing the camps are (sic) not easy,” she said.

“The only solution that we have is a law to prevent the lynching of alleged witches, and look for ways to protect them since majority of them don’t want to go back to their homes because of fear. Families have refused to accept them. And where the family even wants to accept them, the society says ‘no;,” the Minister added.

“What we are going to do is to give these wonderful elderly women a safe haven and renovate where they are. We are giving them a better life. Majority of them told us that they are not on the LEAP programme,” Mrs Cynthia Morrison continued.

Human trafficking

On human trafficking, the Minister told journalists that Ghana is currently on a tier 2 ranking with the US Department of Labour (DOL) tier ranking, which indicates that the country is making a significant effort to fight the canker.

Touching on measures being put in place to tackle human trafficking head-on, she said: “The Ministry trained 45 law enforcement officers with the aim of building their capacity to better help with the fight against human trafficking in Ghana.”

In addition, the government has released GHC1million into the Human Trafficking Fund to effectively combat the menace.

“The Ministry, from 2019 has rescued, supported and given care to 611 victims of human trafficking. Out of this number, 200 were children and 411 were adults,” she disclosed.

The Gender Minister said the adult shelter in the period under review received 63 survivors of human trafficking, adding that her outfit has undertaken series of community dialogues and sensitizations, as part of the efforts to increase awareness and education on human trafficking and irregular migration issues.

School feeding

On school feeding, the Minister revealed that the government currently provides 2,980,000 pupils in 8,683 public basic schools with one hot and nutritious meal for every school going day.

In addition, there has been capacity building for 9,178 caterers in 11 regions on innovative nutrition to improve the quality of meals served to pupils.

“Training on meal planner softer has been undertaken for desk and nutrition officers in 11 regions. Registration of pupils in school feeding schools on the National Health Insurance Scheme has been relaunched. Farmer based organisations in Volta and Oti regions have been profiled to facilitate the linkage of caterers and farmers,” she said.

Source: Agyakwa














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