You have the right to own property, either alone or with others, and not to have your privacy interfered with unless it is necessary for the good of Ghana. The State of Ghana does not have the right to take your property from you unless it is necessary for the good of Ghana and you are properly compensated.
Mary was a seamstress. She was never a very sociable person, but she never hurt anyone either. She lived with her husband and his two sisters in a small compound owned by her husband. She had been married for less than a year when her husband was hit by a tro tro and passed away. Mary saw it happen.
Soon after the funeral, rumours started to spread that Mary had caused the accident. People in the neighbourhood, encouraged by Mary’s sisters-in-law, began to wonder if Mary had been engaging in witchcraft in order to inherit her husband’s property. They took the fact that she had been married for nearly a year without falling pregnant as further evidence of unnatural behaviour. Soon, half of the local community believed that she was guilty of witchcraft. They had a meeting to decide what to do about her, and formed a lynch mob.
There was a small boy who lived next door to Mary. She used to help him with his homework, and he was very fond of her. He was there when they were forming the lynch mob. No-one noticed when he slipped away from the group, and he ran as fast as he could to Mary’s house. He told her what they were planning, and Mary realised how much danger she was in. She grabbed what money she had and ran from her home.
Mary now lives in the witch camp at Gambaga with hundreds of other women whose stories are similar. She is able to work and provide for herself, but she doesn’t own the land she lives on. She will always be beholden to the local chief, who owns the land she works and lives on. Because her husband’s sisters accused her of being a witch, they inherited the house that was rightfully hers.
Want to learn more about witch camps?
Witchcraft around the World
United Nations Human Rights – Witches in the 21st Century
UN publishes IHEU Statement on witchcraft in Africa
Witchcraft in Ghana
Action Aid Report on Witchcraft in Ghana
Summary of Action Aid Report
Action aid – witchcraft in Ghana – the women cursed by superstition
The UN Refugee Agency Ghana: reintegrating the nation’s “witches”
Film – What I used to know – the road to Ghana’s “Witches” camps
Ghana Women Accused of Witchcraft Sent to Witch Camps:
Standard Digital – Ghana witch camps – Widows’ live in exile:
Women’s News Network – Ghana’s Witch Camps Slow to Close:
GBC – Abolish Witch Camps: http://www.gbcghana.com/index.php?id=1.358651.1.427106&no_cache