The First Lady, Lordina Mahama, has said that she was looking forward to the day, when society would stop accusing old women of witchcraft and reintegrate those in witch camps into their communities and society generally.
Mrs. Lordina Mahama, who was on working visit to interact, assess their welfare and donate assorted items to the inmates of the Gambaga Camp in the Northern Region for their up keep, said this would make her the happiest person for the rest of her life.
Even though, women constitute majority of Ghana’s population, they are the most affected, when it comes to issues of health and discrimination in society.
The First Lady, therefore finds it difficult to understand why, women at old age, would be accused of witchcraft, neglected, excluded from their communities and thrown into secluded camps.
She asked”Have we ever, as Ghanaians sat down to think about the trauma they go through whiles in the camp?
Have we considered their welfare and human rights, the right to live a dignified life? If we did, the world would be a better place for all irrespective of our social standing”
The First Lady was at a loss why it is only old women who are accused of witchcraft and not old men. She attributed this issue of old women being witches to superstitions created to keep women down.
She said it is about time discrimination against women, especially the elderly ones are stopped and rather show them love during their old age.
“They need our care, support and love more than ever at this stage of their lives.If you have not been successful in life don’t blame your grandmother. Blame yourself. Your lack of success or inability to gain something in life is not the making of any old lady or witchcraft. Look into yourself and continue praying to God” she urges.
Some of these beliefs the First Lady explained, is planted in the minds of people by the films they watch. She said it is time movie directors changed their scripts and cast the evil roles as men, as wizards, and leave women out.
The First Lady expressed her commitment, through the Lordina Foundation, to continue to support and empower women irrespective of where they find themselves.
She believes that everybody especially the less privileged women in society have the right to live a normal life and also be given the opportunity to become responsible in society just like any other person.
Mrs. Mahama, asserted that government recognizing the importance of empowering women, through the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection,
would continue to provide LEAP support for residents of the alleged witches camps, the aged, state orphanages and leprosaria across the country.
Further to this, she said the Ministry will launch the National Gender Policy to mainstream Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment into Ghana’s development efforts, as it has already launched the first Government Shelter for abused women and children and provided free National Health Insurance Scheme registration for over 800 residents of witches’ camps.
She, assured the inmates of the President’s commitment to ensuring that women are empowered and made visible in society by taking part in decision-making process in the country.
She assured them that her foundation would continue to supplement government effort in ensuring that residents of the camp live decent and dignified lives.
Mrs. Mahama, was hopeful that when the building project, which will serve as accommodation and Vocational Training School for the inmates and their children of which she is facilitating is finally completed, they would enjoy a comfortable life as all other Ghanaians.
Mrs. Lordina Mahama, used the opportunity to pay tribute to the late Madam Tachira Mutara, former Magazia of the camp who passed away early this year after a short illness.
She described her as a peace loving and dedicated leader who did all she could to ensure that residents of the camp live peacefully with each other.