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09.09.2005 General News

Labelling people witches must be criminalized


Accra Sept 9, GNA - The Board of Directors of Help Age Ghana on Friday suggested that labelling people as witches should be criminalized to safeguard the dignity and human rights of older persons in country.

"The incidence of witchcraft borders on myths and beliefs, which not only hamper progress but bring suffering to vulnerable old women." Professor Nana Araba Apt, President HelpAge briefing the press in Accra said elderly persons, especially women were always branded as witches and were manhandled by some sections of the community sometimes resulting in their death.

She was reacting to a recent publication in the Mirror of August 27, 2005 in which the youth of Abrepo Kesse, a suburb of Kumasi, subjected Madam Nyantakyiwa, believed to be in her 90s to a three-hour humiliation after accusing her of being a witch and later marched her to the Police Station.

Interrogations by the Police later revealed that the old woman, a royal of the town was a mental patient.

She appealed to the Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment to be more proactive in the affairs of the older generations and speed up with the parliamentary discussions on the proposed National Policy on Ageing, which, she said, has been with the Ministry since 2003. She condemned the inhuman treatments being meted out to some elderly persons in the society and said such practice threatened the very security and human rights of the elderly.

Prof. Apt advised Ghanaians to plan their old age on time since every one will grow to become old, adding, "the planning should not only be money but quality of time as well."

She urged children to take good care of their parents and to give a better and happy moment to the aged for the rest of their lives.