Parliament has passed a law criminalising the declaration, accusation, naming or labelling of another person as a witch in Ghana.
The amendment which was approved on Thursday, also prohibits any person from practicing as a witch doctor or witchfinder.
Speaking in Parliament, Speaker Alban Bagbin who announced that the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2022 had been read for the third time and passed, explained that it had amended the Criminal Offences Act 1960, Act 29, “to prohibit the practice by any person as a witch doctor or a witchfinder, to proscribe the declaration, accusation, naming or labelling of another person as a witch and for related matters.”
Speaking to JoyNews’ Kwaku Asante, one of the sponsors of the bill, MP for Wa East, Dr. Godfred Seidu Jassaw said that he expects the president to sign the bill into law immediately.
Meanwhile, the MP for Madina, Francis Xavier Sosu, co-sponsor of the bill, said that following the passage of the bill, witches camps across the country will be disbanded.
He told JoyNews that the Gender and Social Protection Ministry will also take steps to integrate inmates in these camps back into society.
In 2020, 90-year-old Madam Akua Denteh was lynched in the Savanah region after she was accused of being a witch.
In a video sighted by Myjoyonline.com, the deceased was slapped, kicked and caned at Kafaba near Salaga in the East Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region, because she was accused of being a witch.
Six people were later arrested, including the Kafaba Chief, Zackaria Yahaya for their roles in the gruesome killing.
Many Ghanaians including President Akufo-Addo condemned the killing but few such incidents have occurred since then, prompting the passage of this bill.
In 2021, three Members of Parliament introduced the Private Members’ Bill to amend the Criminal and Other Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) to prohibit the practice by any person as a witch doctor or witchfinder.
The sponsors are MPs for Madina, Pusiga and Wa East constituencies, Francis-Xavier Kojo Sosu, Hajia Laadi Ayii Ayamba and Dr. Godfred Seidu Jasaw respectively.