Former President Jerry John Rawlings has called for an investigation into the “cruel and barbaric” lynching of a 90-year-old woman accused of being a witch, at Kafaba, near Salaga in the Savannah Region.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Mr Rawlings said he was appalled by the violence meted out to frail Akua Denteh, who was subjected to lashes and beatings on Thursday, July 23.

The former President called for the arrest and prosecution of all the assailants adding that the appropriate judicial punishment must be meted out to them.

“We are in 2020 and such brutal abuse, especially of women should not be countenanced in Ghana. We rose up in unison when George Floyd cruelly lost his life in the United States. We cannot look on and allow something more callous to happen in Ghana.”

“The police and other investigative agencies, as well as the Attorney-General’s Department, must ensure that this matter is thoroughly investigated.”

Akua Denteh, was slapped, kicked and caned on Thursday after being accused of witchcraft by a supposed soothsayer.

The body of the deceased has since been conveyed from Kafaba by Police in Salaga and deposited at the Tamale Teaching Hospital morgue awaiting autopsy.

With a video of the act trending on social media, some Ghanaians, including recognised civil society organisations have called for justice for the family of the deceased, with a demand for the immediate arrest of the perpetrators.

Flt Lt Rawlings stated that attention must be given to domestic violence adding that too many people, especially women, are being physically abused in their marriages and relationships.

These culprits must be apprehended and made to face the “strong hand of the law,” he added.

While commending the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service (DOVVSU), he urged them to act more swiftly to prosecute those who abuse and terrorize their partners in marriage and other relationships. 

The former President said people have become brazen in their use of violence and a lot more effort has to be employed not only by DOVVSU but by the prosecuting authority and the judiciary to ensure that violence is not perpetrated on any individual.