Mrs Barbara Boafo, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Women’s Organizer in the United States (U.S.) has stated that despite the existence of Article 17 of the 1992 Constitution, witch camps still exist in some parts of Northern Ghana.
She noted that branding people falsely with witchcraft, have forced countless women into social cuffs and chains, preventing them from pursuing happiness, living right and enjoying their liberties.
She pointed out that adhering to Article 26(2) which prohibits customary practices that dehumanized and injured the physical and mental well-being of people, the court and other enforcement agencies should activate the law to mitigate such instances within the society.
Mrs Boafo who made the remarks in commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day, bemoaned that such women were horribly stigmatized and mistreated as witches and hence, were forced to leave or sent away from the communities for refuge and their safety.
She endorsed the proactive steps taken by the Government and Madam Adjoa Sarfo, Minister for Gender, to rebrand the witch camps and expressed the hope that it would not paint a picture of a surface change, while the real difficult events continued.
To this end, she suggested the adoption of the “Care Home System” where the government provided proper residential services, ensured a meaningful lifestyle and provided respite care for the aged women in a welcoming environment since they cannot return to their respective communities.
According to her, the government could adopt occupational therapists to cater for their grooming, washing, and bathing among others to keep them clean and elevate their individual esteem.
She stated, “We can consider physical therapy like medical care, gentle stretching and other exercises to keep their flexibility and endurance levels.”
She said though it was not easy to deconstruct the ancient misconception about vulnerable old women in societies, efforts should be put in place to heal such misconceptions as minds were together to remodel such camps and make them pleasant places for living.