Sunday, August 23, marks exactly a month when a woman, mother, sister, and grandmother named Akua Denteh aged 90 was brutally beaten to death in Kafaba in the Savannah Region following witchcraft accusations.
The murder of Akua Denteh caused national and international outrage. Many supported the fight for justice for her by signing a petition which has since garnered over 63,000 signatures.
This petition coupled with public outcry about this injustice pressurized the government, the police and other stakeholders to take concrete steps to address the issue.
As concerned citizens of Ghana, we have been monitoring the situation and we would like to acknowledge the urgency with which the authorities in Ghana handled the matter up until this point.
While commending the government for the action undertaken to ensure justice is served, we continue to appeal to the Ghana Police Service and other stakeholders to take the necessary steps to ensure that all the identified perpetrators of this heinous crime are brought to justice and the right measures are put in place to put an end to these acts of blatant human rights abuses against women and marginalized people in society.
We would like to reiterate the following demands to the respective stakeholders that have a critical role to play in the resolution of this issue:
- We demand that ongoing investigations into the matter by the police be done expeditiously and brought to a logical conclusion.
- We demand that President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo tasks the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection to ensure that concrete steps are taken to protect vulnerable old women who are usually victims of witchcraft accusations.
- We urge the traditional leaders in Kafaba and its surrounding communities as well as other affected areas to discourage such acts of arbitrarily accusing people of witchcraft and to create conditions in their communities to ensure that this is NOT repeated.
- We urge the Judiciary to see to the prosecution of all perpetrators of this inhumane act to serve as a deterrent to others.
- We call on Ghanaian feminist groups to actively include the issue of witchcraft accusations and its devastating and fatal effects on women in their feminist activism and campaigns. We also ask that they share with the public what steps they are actively taking to include this important issue in their organizing and activist work.
- We demand that the state creates and enables conditions for us and other activist groups to work towards getting justice for Akua Denteh.
- We appeal to the media and civil societies in collaboration with local communities to sensitize the general public on the need to respect human rights, especially the right to life and to provide thorough coverage for this incident to its logical conclusion.
Update by petitioners and concerned citizens of Ghana:
Vida Awinime Bugri
Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed