04.06.2004 Regional News

Domestic violence bill could cause more damage - Magistrate

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Agona Nyakrom, June 4, GNA - The proposed domestic violence bill, which has been laid before parliament would cause more damage than good when passed into law, Mr Abdul Fatawu Yakubu, Agona District Court Judge has said.

He said the draft of the bill was completed in 2002, but parliament has kept long time to pass it and allowed traditional rulers, civil society and other stakeholders to discuss at length before its passage. Mr Yakubu said this in reaction to a question raised at a forum organised jointly by the Agona District Directorate of the National Commission for Civic Education and Agona District branch of the Queen Mothers Association at Nyakrom.

He said, if care is not taken many homes are going to be broken when the Bill is passed into law by parliament due to unfriendly portions of the Bill.

Mr. Yakubu warned men, especially married ones to be circumspect, adding that the Bill gives a serious warning to men to conduct themselves well in the house to avoid the harm.

He said for instance, that if a married woman reported marital rape against her husband, the man could receive a prison sentence between 5 and 25 years as a man outside had committed same offence.

Mr Yakubu stated that if man refused to speak to his wife for a number of periods, the wife can take the husband to law court and if he is found guilty he would be punished.

He therefore called on the women to ensure these laws are strictly enforce by the law courts when it is passed, else it would become irrelevant in the country's statutory books.

Mr Akwasi Assuman, Agona District Director of NCCE appealed to the followers of political parties to endeavour to create peaceful atmosphere during the December elections.

He noted that it is the civic responsibility of every eligible voter on the land to exercise his or her franchise in every election, adding that this would promote democracy in the country.

Mr Assuman advised Ghanaian politicians to tolerate each divergence view as the nation prepares for the presidential and parliamentary elections to promote peace and tranquillity, saying that ethnic conflicts must be avoided in order to move the nation forward.

Nana Owusuah Bentumah II, President of the Agona Queen Mothers Association said the Association was formed to seek the welfare and rights of women in the district.

She appealed to the NCCE and other organisations to organise regular forums to educate women on the domestic violence bill and Intestate Succession Law to avoid being cheated by their husband's relatives. 4 June 04

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