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West Gonja: Tackling Gender Based Violence-Municipal Assembly partners Gonja Queen mothers Association and NCCE on sensitization drive

The West Gonja Municipal Chief Executive Saeed Muhazu Jibril Jegede. Photo courtesy Nkilgifmonline.

The West Gonja Municipal Chief Executive Saeed Muhazu Jibril Jegede has outlined activities being planned by the West Gonja Municipal Assembly in the fight against gendered attacks over witchcraft accusations.

In an exclusive interview with ZAMI Reports on Monday August 31, the MCE hinted a partnership between the assembly, the Gonja Queen Mothers Association, and the National Commission for Civic Education in the Savannah region.

“We are looking at involving queen mothers in Gonja land to sensitize our people on this because this is ignorance. The people do not even appreciate the gravity of what they have done”.

The Gonja Queen Mothers Association will hold gatherings in all communities in the West Gonja Municipality and one-on-one interactions with dwellers on the rights of women and the need to protect the aged.

Two of the queen mothers who live outside the Savannah region are are joining their colleagues today September 1, for the commencement of the sensitization which is expected to commence in the Sumpini community.

The Sumpini community got media attention on Saturday August 29, following a viral video in which a female resident in her late fifties, Madam Meri Ibrahim, had been assaulted by a mob of youth in the area over witchcraft accusations.  In the said video, the victim is heard narrating her ordeal to night nurses of the Busunu Health Centre in Gonja.

The video according to the MCE Mr. Saeed Muhazu has cast “shame on the municipality and the Savannah Regional Capital”.

The West Gonja Municipal Assembly is also seeking to resource the National Commission for Civic Education in the Savannah region to meet its mandate of educating residents on the effects and impact of gender based violence.

To this end, the MCE appeals for partnership from nonprofit organization whose mission is to fight against gender based violence.

“The assembly will resource the NCCE so it can send education to the people. We are appealling to organizations who are into gender based violence to support the assembly in this regard ”

Mr. Muhazu partly blamed the incident at Sumpini on the absence of the community chief whom he says does not live in the community.

“If the chief was living in the community, this would not have happened but he had left the care of the community in the hands of a care taker who could not stamp his authority on the people”.

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The MCE bemoaned the level of indiscipline among Ghanaian youth which he said also contributed to the attacks adding the Savannah  region has a shrine where alleged witches are sent for purification rites and reintegrated into their communities.

“There is a shrine in Gonja land called the Sonyo Kipo shrine where people believed to be witches are sent for purification and once that is done, they are reintegrated into their communities but because today’s youth do not even regard traditional authorities they decide what to do with such cases”.

Mr. Muhazu also revealed the negative impact of social media could be blamed for the attack on Madam Meri Ibrahim as many in communities like Sumpini do not understand the discussions on the viral videos of the torture of Akua Denteh.

“The people saw the videos of the torture of Akua Denteh but these people do not understand that doing that to a woman is a crime and perhaps thought they could do same to alleged witches”.

Meanwhile, five persons who were on Sunday August 30, arrested by the Savannah  Regional Police Command appeared before the Bole Magistrate Court on Monday August 31. The five have been remanded into police custody to reappear on September 15.

“We are not relenting on this issue. You have not heard the last of the proceedings, the perpetrators will be brought to book”, a determined MCE told ZAMI Reports Editor Zubaida Afua Mabuno Ismail.


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