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13.01.2005 General News

Trokosi system condemned

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Mampong-Nkwanta, Jan. 13, GNA - The Eastern Regional Director of the Ghana National Commission on Children (GNCC), Mr Anthony Dontoh has condemned the practice of the "trokosi" servitude system and reminded the people that it was an illegal act for which offenders could face prosecution.

He said children had their rights protected by the freedoms in the Constitution and those provided under the Children's Act. Mr Dontoh was speaking at a seminar organised by the Trokosi Abolition Fellowship International (TAFI), a non-governmental organization at Mampong-Nkwanta in the Akuapem North District on Wednesday, to sensitise the people on the law against the "trokosi" practice.

The seminar, which was attended by inhabitants from ten Ewe settler communities, became necessary following a controversy that was raging in the area over the demand by the Kaja "trokosi" shrine at Pokuase, near Amasaman in the Greater Accra Region, that the corpse of a deceased man, one Paul Dzivor, who died on November 15, last year, be brought to it alongside his 12-year-old son for a life-time servitude in atonement for the alleged sins of his late father.

Mr Dontoh who decried the flagrant abuse of the rights of children by the adherents of the "trokosi" shrines, pledged that his outfit would ensure that the child involved would not become a victim of the "outmoded" practice.

On his part, the acting Eastern Regional Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice(CHRAJ), Mr Stephen Okpoti Mensah, said the Constitution outlawed any practice that hindered the rights to education and any other freedoms by citizens, especially children.

He condemned the "trokosi" practice whereby a person was subjected to customary servitude as a denial of persons the right to their freedoms, adding "even the government has no power to deny ones right on the basis of atonement".

Earlier in an opening remark, the Executive Director of the TAFI, Mr Stephen Awudi Gadri, said a report came to his organization from the head of the Ewe community at Mampong-Nkwanta, Togbe Kwame Dzivor, that the Kaja "trokosi" shrine was demanding him to bring the body of his son, Paul Dzivor, to the shrine.

He said the body which had been deposited at the mortuary of the Tetteh Quashie Memorial Hospital, Mampong-Akuapem was being demanded by the fetish priest for certain rituals.

Mr Gadri said, additionally, the shrine was requesting that the son of the deceased, Castro Dzorka, a class two Primary School, was being asked to be surrendered to the shrine for "trokosi" servitude in addition to 16 million cedis cash, seven lamps, seven goats, 14 fowls, three bags of maize, three tins of "akpeteshie" gin, and a full piece each of black and white calico.

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