In a major victory for human rights activists, Ghana’s parliament has passed the Criminal Amendment Bill of 2022, which criminalises the practice of witchcraft by accusing someone of being a witch.
The bill also outlaws the practices of witch doctors and witchfinders. Under the new law, any person found guilty of declaring someone a witch or labeling them as such will face criminal charges.
This is seen as a significant step forward in putting an end to the practice of accusing people of witchcraft, which has caused many to suffer human rights violations.
The bill is a private member’s bill sponsored by Francis Xavier Sosu, who is also the Member of Parliament for Madina. Sosu said that this law is an opportunity for Ghana to up its ranking in human rights globally. “I’m confident that the president will sign it into law immediately,” he said.
The new legislation also means that all witch camps in Ghana are now illegal. There are currently 539 people locked up in these camps across the country.
Sosu expressed his satisfaction with the passing of the bill, saying that it is going to bring about a mind-shift and correct a lot of ills in the society.
However, he was quick to clarify that the law is not interfering with anyone’s cultural practices. “If you are using your wizardry or witchcraft for positive development, go ahead and do it. But if you accuse somebody based on your black magic or charms, that is not acceptable,” he said.
This significant development is expected to bring an end to the long-standing problem of witchcraft accusations in Ghana and establish a safer and more just society.
By Vincent Kubi