The Zonta Clubs of Ghana affiliated to Zonta International, have condemned the killing of Madam Akua Denteh, the 90-year-old woman, accused of witchcraft in Kafaba, in the East Gonja Municipality.
The Clubs, in a joint statement copied to the Ghana News Agency, said they were appalled by the “unfortunate incident, which happened after a traditional priestess said the woman was a witch”.
“We condemn all those involved in the murder of the Madam Akua Denteh and urge the Police to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators to ensure the protection of life of every Ghanaian as enshrined in Article 13 of the 1992 Constitution which guarantees the right to life,” it said.
“We also denounce the tacit participation of the bystanders who did nothing to intervene but stood and watched on as Madam Akua Denteh was abused and beaten until she was unconscious.
“We again call on the Police to also arrest the said bystanders as accessories to her murder.”
The joint statement was signed by the Zonta Club of Accra, Zonta Club of Tema, Zonta Club of Accra 2, Zonta Club Accra Metropolitan and Zonta E Club.
“Zonta International envisions a world in which no woman lives in fear of violence and for hundred years, it has contributed to the realisation of a world free of violence against women and girls, through service and advocacy,” the statement said.
“We, therefore, find it extremely disturbing that gross violation of human rights still persists in Ghana and that women, can be and are abused physically and verbally, ostracised and driven out of their communities and even killed with impunity, merely because someone brands them as witches.”
The Clubs called on the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, the National Commission for Civic Education, traditional rulers, community leaders and civil society organisations to intensify sensitisation against the degrading and inhuman practices perpetuated against women and girls in the name of culture or religion.
The Ghana Police Service, it said, should not hesitate to swiftly investigate, arrest and prosecute all persons, irrespective of their social or political background, who perpetuated “such heinous acts that are offences proscribed by the Criminal and Other Offences Act”.
“Furthermore, we recommend that Parliament should call the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection to answer questions on the issue and her provision of mitigating actions relating to women being branded witches in our society,” it said.
“Ghana has commendable laws on prohibition of gender-based violence, which should be seen to be enforced,” the statement emphasised.