Source: Abdul Karim Naatogmah | citifmonline.com
President of the alleged witches Network in the Northern Region has asked government to make it a political reality to disband their camps and fast track their reintegration.
Mma Táchira Muntaru exclusively told Citi News that government‘s promise to conduct such exercise was long overdue.
According to her, life at the alleged witches’ camp is unbearable for which reason they could not wait to reunite with their families.
Late President John Evans Atta Mills pledged to disband and reintegrate alleged witches in the Northern Region back into their original communities.
Former Deputy Minister of Women and Children Affairs, Hajia Hawabu Gariba Boya at several fora on alleged witches’ camps reiterated government’s pledge.
Current records have shown that 600 ostracized women and 500 of their dependants have been camped in six isolated settlements called alleged witches camps in the Northern Region.
Mma Táchira Muntaru spoke to Citi News at a day’s forum for civil society organizations and local government officials on reintegration and disbandment of alleged witches camps held in Tamale.
It was under the auspices of Songtaba, an NGO championing the disbandment and reintegration exercise with support from Action Aid Ghana and funded by Roths Child Foundation.
She commended Songtaba and Action Aid Ghana for promoting their rights.
She further appealed to District Assemblies hosting the alleged witches camps to provide them with basic social amenities with emphasis on places of convenience.
Sampson Laar of Presby free go project, who is staying with the alleged witches at the Gambaga camp, described living conditions there as offensive.
“Because I stay with them, I feel that they lack basic things: for instance if you come to the Gambaga camp they do not even have one facility to use as toilet, water is a problem, you see their children, big issue because how do they go to school?”
He continued saying, “Some of them are very old that even though their children want them to be at home they don’t have powers: sometimes they allow their grandchildren to stay with them and is really difficult.”
Sampson Laar admonished District Assemblies hosting the alleged witches’ camps to alleviate their plight.
Chairman of the alleged witches’ reintegration committee, Dr. Alhaji Al-Hussein Zakariah disclosed that some criminals were using the alleged witches’ situation to amass wealth.
“Some people instead of seeking help for them try to make capital out of them: people go take pictures, create stories and access funds and in fact all these became a serious concern and a few organizations thought that it was indeed important to get organizations who have given themselves the task to work in support of these women,” he revealed.
Dr. Al-Hussein Zakariah said no woman should be lynched on account of suspicion that she is a witch.
He impressed upon the law enforcement agencies to crack the whip on people who infringe upon the rights of women suspected to be witches.
He commended the chief of Sagnarigu for kicking against such inhumane practices in his traditional area.
Dr. Al-Hussein Zakariah called on the clergy, traditional rulers, youth and opinion leaders and civil society organizations to join the crusade.
Programmes Coordinator of Songtaba, Mrs. Adam Lamnatu described the alleged witches’ situation as mammoth injustice.
She said the hazard should be tackled as a national human security threat.
Mrs. Adam Lamnatu commended the Nanumba South District Assembly for continually supporting inmates of the Kukuo alleged witches camps with food items.
It emerged that some of the alleged witches are benefiting from the National Health Insurance Scheme financed by the host District Assemblies.
Some of them also periodically receive financial support from the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme.