Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Woman accused of witchcraft calls for justice

Woman accused of witchcraft calls for justice
Daily Graphic, Thursday, 13th January, 2010; Page 11, (Gender and Children)
Chris Nunoo, Wa

A 52-year old woman from Sokpeyiri, a village in the Wa West District in the Upper West Region, who was allegedly subjected to inhumane treatment by a soothsayer and two other persons is calling for justice.

The woman, Madam Sunkari Ghanyi, said she felt humiliated, depressed and demoralized when she was wrongly accused of being a witch and having a hand in the death of her husband’s relative for which she was forced to drink a concoction, which since had some psychological effects of her.

She explained that the concoction was made of the blood of a slaughtered fowl mixed with water and sand, as well as the chopped legs of a live taod.

Madam Ghanyi, who was in the company of some members of her family, called at the Wa office of the Daily Graphic to narrate her story, is, therefore appealing to the Chief Justice and human rights organizations to intervene in the matter so that justice would be done.

Amid sobbing, she said, “I feel I have been handed a raw deal by the Wa District Magistrate’s Court, which acquitted and discharged the three suspects involved in the matter.”

She said sometimes in the year 2008, the wife of her husband’s nephew had some compliations during pregnancy and dies while in labour together with her unborn baby at the Wa Hospital.

She said a few months after the death of the woman, her brother-in-law, one Bagabu Naa, who travelled to the southern part of the country at the time of the death of the woman, returned to Sokpeyiri and did not take kindly to the news of the death of the daughter-in-law.

She said Bagabu Naa, in the company of one Kojo Zineta, who was the guardian of the deceased, went in for a soothsayer known as Naasoyili Anderanaa to find out the cause of the death of the woman.

She said she (Ghanyi) were assembled by the soothsayer, who performed some rituals. She said the soothsayer first pointed at one woman as the one who caused the death of the pregnant woman but her children, who were around, protested vehemently as a result of which the soothsayer rescinded the decision.

She said after a few incantations, her pointed to another to another person, whose children resisted all attempts to blame their mother for the death of the pregnant woman.

She said the soothsayer then pointed to her as the main culprit who caused the death of the pregnant woman and her unborn baby.

She said because she did not have anyone to talk for her, she was not given a hearing after she and her son challenged the soothsayer, who, she said, by then had the total support of those present.

In ensuing hot exchanges, Madam Ghanyi said the soothsayer then claimed he was going to prepare some concoction for her to drink and that if she did not confess within three days she would die.

“He already had some liquid in a calabash and so he slaughtered a fowl, poured the blood into the calabash, mixed it with sand, and added the chopped legs of a live toad after which he (the soothsayer) asked me to drink,” she said amid tears, adding that for fear of her life, she had no choice but to gulp down the concoction.

Madam Ghanyi said when after three days nothing happened to her Bagabu Naa, her brother-in-law threatened to kill her and so shee run to Wa to inform a relative, who suggested that they report the matter to the police.

She said, the three, Bagabu Naa, Kojo Zineta and the soothsayer, Naasoyili Anderanaa, were charged after police investigations and processed before court but after almost two years of court sittings, the accused persons were acquitted and discharged.

She said the whole incident has affected her psychological and that she sometimes did not feel like a human being who deserved to live, adding that as a result of the threats on her life, among other accusations, she had been compelled to run away from Sokpeyiri for her safety.

Blog Administrator's Question: If Madam Ghanyi's husband was alive, where was he throughout all this? Did he choose not to protect his wife but kept silent while Bagabu Naa and the others met out inhumane treatment to her? Has he abandoned her now? Has the justice system failed?

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