Nana Anima Ahwenepa, the Queen-mother of Bomaa-Dwenase in the Tano North Municipality of the Ahafo Region has said the Anglican Priest at St. Monica’s College of Education at Asante Mampong deserves stiffer punishment.
A viral video in circulation identified the Reverend Father Balthazar Obeng Larbi, the College’s Chaplain kissing some female students during a church service and the Anglican Church has since relieved him of all his duties pending the outcome of investigations.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Bomaa-Dwenase, Nana Ahwenepa, also the Founder and Executive Director of Naky Foundation, a non-governmental organisation described the act as serious sexual harassment which required prosecution.
She noted that the act of the reverend minister had not brought irreparable stigma to the Anglican Church alone, but Christendom, the victims, their families, communities, and womanhood.
Sexual harassment, she explained was among the worst form of human rights abuses inimical to the growth and development of girls, stressing that victims went through the emotional trauma that affected their mental faculty.
Nana Ahwenepa, therefore, called for vigorous reproductive health education in schools to empower girls to understand their sexual rights and report various forms of abuse they went through accordingly.
The queen-mother said it was unfortunate there were several incidents and instances of sexual abuse and harassment on girls and the perpetrators had gone unpunished and called on human rights activists and civil society actors to pursue the matter to its logical conclusion.
Nana Ahwenepa however, commended the Anglican Church for the bold action it has taken in relieving the priest of all his duties and hoped that if found wanting, the Reverend Minister would be made to face the full rigours of the law to deter others.
“This is even clear. I don’t think there is a need for further investigations into this despicable act because videos don’t lie. What is needed now is to allow the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit to take up the matter”, Nana Ahwenepa stated.
She said the act by the Anglican Priest was a ‘taboo’ and ‘great sin’ against God and humanity that should not be tolerated in any godly society.
“Priests, queens, and chiefs are the embodiment of the people who are expected to live exemplary lives. So under no circumstances should we allow this despicable act to continue, if we want to raise a godly society” Nana Ahwenepa added.