It is clearly not what you want to hear but the general truth is that we all did, even though about two or three people actually delivered the blow that snuffed her life.
But you and I did. The same way we killed Major Mahama, the same way we will kill someone else, and another, and another…
Today we are outraged by a video making the rounds of a 90 year old woman being lynched.
Akua Denteh, as she has been identified was labeled a witch by another witch (a soothsayer) and was subjected to torture till she died.
In the video, people stood and watched, and others simply minded their own business. Indeed in one of the videos, one of her attackers was heard chanting “takbir” to which the crowd responded “Allahu Akbar”.
This makes one thing evident, what happened is common practice.
We happened to be outraged because this particular one was recorded and shared on social media.
God knows how many old women have been killed through such means. Indeed, society is only screaming, because this one mirrored our cruelty.
Akua Denteh is reported to have 7 children. Where were they when this happened?
In the video, there were more than ten fully grown adults present when this was ongoing, how come none of them stood up for her? Who said the chiefs and traditional rulers in Kafaba did not know of such a practice?
But the traditions and the norms of that society have accepted it as normal. To them, it is normal for a witch to be killed this way; that has been the norm in the past, and that is how it will be.
So no matter who it is, once the backward justice set up of that system says “crucify her”, they will be quick to act.
Calling people witches in northern Ghana is not new, in fact, the Gambaga Witch Camp exists for alleged witches who have been cast away from home.
Is it not interesting to note that if indeed they are witches, putting them together in one community meant empowering them to cause more havoc?
Or no one actually thinks of that?
We (Ghanaians) have accepted this camp. The existence of such a settlement means that we have accepted that people can be called witches (and wizards) and be punished by cutting ties with them and sending them over to a camp.
Truth is, for a lot of them, their only crime is growing old (which comes with its own complications).
“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future.
“When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”
― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956
We have kept silent about evil so many times in this country that they have become normal.
Then it appears on social media and we get offended at the offenders.
Those people carrying out the act are not acting out of a void. They have a backing.
They are operating by the tenets of a particular tradition and evil as it may be, it has been fuelled by the silence of you, and me.
We are all guilty, and may the last one be Grandma Denteh.