The Gender Minister, Otiko Afisah Djaba, has reassured that her Ministry is committed to closing down witches camps in the northern part of the country.
Otiko Afisah Djaba, however, says the Ministry’s efforts are being hampered by the unwillingness of a lot of suspected witches to return home.
Answering questions on the floor of parliament Thursday, she said they have visited the Gambaga Witches Camp where some of the women have been put on a new Livelihood Empowerment Alleviation programme (LEAP).
“This means the discussion between the community and the alleged witches will continue to go on,” she said.
The Gambaga Witch Camp is a segregated community within Gambaga township in the Northern Region of Ghana established in the 18th century to accommodate alleged witches and wizards who are banished from their communities.
The camp has about 25 round huts and holds about 100 women. No health services or indoor plumbing are available.
Many women in Ghana’s witch camps are widows and it is thought that relatives accused them of witchcraft in order to take control of their husbands’ possessions.
Other old women in the camp have been accused of using black magic to cause misfortunes in their community.
For this reason, the Madam Djaba told Parliament integrating the women into their community will take a long time and lots of dialogue.
“Some of the women are scared that once they go back into their communities because anytime something bad happens to someone in the community, they are the ones to be blamed.
“…so we intend with the new LEAP to provide the productive ones with skills training,” she said.
She added that wherever they make up their minds that they want to stay, the Ministry will support them to be able to live on their own.
Madam Djaba said the idea is their well-being and if they do not feel safe enough to stay in their original homes, they will be supported by the Ministry to resettle.