Ghana, Volta Region: two fetish priests engage in ritual killing practices

Two fetish priests in the Eastern Region (Volta Region) have been apprehended and are suspected to be ritual killers. The article below is a follow-up on my posting of May 4.

Allegedly, a link exists with Togo, where the two men are hailing from. On this site I have presented several cases of ritual murders committed in Ghana. Ritual murder cases are seldom reported from Togo. This does not mean that in this country ritual practices and murders are non-existent. I suspect that it is more a question of under-reporting. There is no reason to believe that ritual murders do not occur in francophone African countries.

Unfortunately, there exists a bias in my reports on ritual murder cases across the African continent. The case presented below is another reason to be more vigilant and more balanced in my reporting on this site (webmaster FVDK).

How Fetish Priests Killed Ex-Soldier And Buried Him Including Others

The scene where the bodies were exhumed

Published: May 4, 2020
By: Modern Ghana 

Details are emerging about how a special police team raided a shrine in the Eastern Region and exhumed headless human remains from the place.

At least three bodies were found buried in shallow graves when the special team raided the shrine where body parts were also found scattered all over the place. 

Two fetish priests, namely Christian Lawoe Gameli aka Power-One, 40, and Famous Adukonu aka Scorpion, 36, who were operating a shrine called ‘Power 1 Herbal & Spiritual Centre’ located at Adu Kwadwo and Kofi Nyarko villages near Maame Dede Junction on the Nsawam to Adeiso road in the Upper West Akyem District of the Eastern Region, were arrested and brought to Accra during the raid. 

The taxi driver, who was arrested alongside both fetish priests last Thursday, had been named as Allotey, and they were being detained by the police for ritual murder, fraud and the production of fake currencies. 

The arrest is coming at a time when there are swelling allegations of collaboration between fetish priests, some spiritualists and some fake pastors in the country. 

Old Soldier

It is turning out that at least one of the victims is believed to be a retired soldier, and his disappearance triggered intense police investigation that led to the raid. 

The suspects allegedly murdered the 64-year-old ex-soldier, Edward Quartey Papafio, from Accra, who reportedly went to the shrine two weeks ago to seek spiritual help from the priests. 

The soldier’s phone led investigators to the shrine, according to police sources. 

He was reported to have been duped by the suspects who told him to go and come back in some days. 

The old soldier later informed his wife and son, who was also a serving soldier, about the incident before visiting the shrine on the second attempt. 

Shooting Incident

DAILY GUIDE gathered that when he went back to the shrine to confront them, the suspects asked him to sit somewhere in the shrine and in the process they shot him, killing him instantly. 

They then buried him at the back of the shrine in the dress that he was wearing. 

The deceased’s wife who was not hearing from him started calling his mobile phone several times, but the calls didn’t go through. 

Police Intervention

The deceased soldier’s son went to the community in search of his late father before reporting the matter to the police CID, who also deployed some investigators to the community to gather more facts. 

Their Roots

The fetish priests, as gathered, hail from Togo and came to stay at Suhum, but moved to settle in the current village about five years ago. 

They have reportedly built two shrines and a hotel at separate locations during their short stay in the area and are said to be feared by the people. 

Modus Operandi

They usually run advertisement and talk shows on Starr TV, a private television station based in Koforidua, to lure their clients who want to turn millionaires overnight. 

They are said to have used their so-called powers to ‘dupe’ many clients and normally charge not less than GH¢1,000 as ‘participating’ fees. 

Serial Killing

Some residents have made wild claims that a lot of people who visited the shrine vanished afterwards whenever the clients tried to fight back after being felt duped by the fetish priests. 

The suspects, after the heinous crimes, allegedly bury the victims in their dresses in a manhole at the back of the shrine, and others in the rituals room after removing their parts. 

They further claimed that some kids have been reported missing in the community ever since the duo settled in the area. 

Some even alleged that the suspects usually ‘camped’ their clients who threaten to expose them when they failed to perform what they promise to do for them. 

Some of the victims reportedly managed to escape and filed complaints at the police station at Adeiso, but the suspects were never arrested and questioned. 

Marching Suspects

The police upon arresting the suspects marched them to the spots where they suspected the remains had been buried, and the suspects allegedly pointed to those spots for the bodies to be exhumed. 

At around 11:00am on Thursday, the police used an excavator to dig the graveyard and also pulled down the walls of the shrine before exhuming fresh human skulls and plenty of bones. 

The exhumation exercise ended around 4pm.

There are wild rumours in the village that a certain Kwashie Zormelo (age unknown) from Kasoa may have also been murdered by the suspects. 

DAILY GUIDE understands the CID will be addressing the media on the matter at 2pm today.

Source:  How Fetish Priests Killed Ex-Soldier And Buried Him Including Others

Related article:

How two fetish priests murdered and buried a biochemist, others at their shrine

Published: May 4, 2020
By: MyJoyOnLine

Two traditional priests are in the custody of the police for allegedly killing a biochemist consultant and siphoning what is suspected to be his blood into a gallon.

The deceased Edward Quartey-Papafio, 64, had left his house on January 15, 2020, at about 3:30 am after receiving a phone call. 

According to the Director-General of the CID, COP Isaac Yeboah, after police investigations, it was discovered that the deceased was last spotted in Adeisu, near Nsawam in the Eastern region.

The police intensified investigation, and on April 21, 2020, they arrested suspects Christian Gameli Lawerh alias Power, 36, and Famous Adorkunu alias Scorpion, 37.

Both fetish priests hail from the Volta region but reside at Maame Dede near Adeisu.

After a search was conducted at their residences, police retrieved two pump action guns, a single barrel gun, together with eleven packets of cartridges from Lawerh’s room.

On April 29, both suspects admitted having interacted with the missing person for some time, but he was later shot and killed on January 15, 2020, at their shrine.

The suspects reiterated that the deceased was buried at a particular spot within the shrine and led police to the scene. The area was secured for an exhumation order to be granted by the court.

On April 30, the police including pathologists and other forensic experts went to Maame Dede and executed the exhumation.

The pathologists retrieved the decomposed body from a grave.

A second decomposed body whose name the suspect Gameli gave as Kwesi Zomelo also from Kasoa was retrieved from a separate grave.

The team later exhumed human parts, hair attachments, bead (belonging to a woman, police suspect), and bones from a third grave within the same perimeter.

A decomposed human flesh with bones wrapped in a cloth buried among the bodies was also retrieved from another grave. The team in addition retrieved human skulls together with bones, suspected to be human, hidden under two ‘idols’ in the house.

Investigations have so far established that on December 2019, the two conspired to murder Edward Quartey-Papafio, according to police.

They are alleged to have lured the deceased to their shrine and succeeded in collecting cash amounting to 10,000 Ghana cedis from him with a promise to fortify the deceased spiritually to enable his company to flourish.

On January 15, they invited Quartey-Papafio to the shrine for what they claimed to be the final purification rites but in the process they shot, killed and buried his body.

Police say after committing the crime, Lawerh took possession of the deceased’s Itel and Nokia mobile phones and handed them to his third wife, together with a bunch of keys.

Police say the second suspect Adorkunu, has confessed that he shot and killed Mr. Quartey-Papafio.

He also confessed to killing Zomelo and one of his masons after the deceased demanded money owed him.

According to COP Isaac Ken Yeboah, the remains exhumed from the shrine have been deposited at the Police Hospital Mortuary awaiting DNA testing and identification.

The suspects have been remanded and are awaiting trial.

Source: How two fetish priests murdered and buried a biochemist, others at their shrine

Ghana – ritual murder: four headless bodies uncovered in shrine in Eastern Region

Also Ghana is not an exception to the gruesome reality of the widespread occurrence of  ritualistic murders in SSA-countries, as I stated in one of my previous posts. Can anyone explain that to me? (webmaster FVDK).  

Four Headless Bodies Uncovered In Shrine

To listen to the report click on the image in the original article (in Source, below)

Published: May 2, 2020
By: Modern Ghana

The fetish priests and a taxi driver have been picked up in a joint security operation, carried out by armed police and military personnel from Accra, for allegedly killing six people at their shrine.

The police have given the names of the fetish priests only as Power One, believed to be 40 years old, and Famous, 36. 

The shrine of both spiritualists was also named ‘Power 1 Herbal & Spiritual Centre’ located at Adu Kwadwo, near Maame Dede in the Upper West Akyem District of the Eastern Region. 

The taxi driver, identified as Allotey, was also grabbed for allegedly aiding the fetish priests in committing the alleged crime. 

The suspected fetish priests and the driver are being held for ritual murder, fraud, and the production of fake currencies after the raid at the shrine last Thursday. 

DAILY GUIDE gathered that the shrine of both spiritualists was raided because the police suspected they had buried people there. 

Upon their arrests, the police reportedly marched the suspects to spots where they suspected the remains had been buried, and the suspects allegedly pointed to those spots for the bodies to be exhumed. 

The police retrieved fresh human head, skulls and other human parts tied in a polythene bag and they suspected it was to be used for sacrifice. 

The suspects have been transferred to Accra along with the exhibits retrieved.

Source: Four Headless Bodies Uncovered In Shrine

Related article:

Breaking News: Police, Military Raid Shrine in Upper West Akyem over Ritual Murder

Published: April 30, 2020
By:  Obed Ansah mybrytfmonline 

Two spiritualists at Adu Kwadwo Community near Maame Dede in the Upper West Akyem District of the Eastern Region have been busted by a joint team of Police and Military personnel.

The two fetish priests arrested are Power 1 and Scorpion.

They were arrested for alleged ritual murder and fraud and the production of fake currencies.

According to the report, the joint armed security team that carried out the operation has exhumed some two bodies.

Mybrytfmonline.com will provide detailed information about the operation as and when it unfolds.

Source: Breaking News: Police, Military Raid Shrine in Upper West Akyem over Ritual Murder

Upper West Akyim District, Eastern Region, Ghana

Ghana: women accused of witchcraft find refuge in outpost run by sisters

Ghana has a fairly good reputation, both on the African continent and beyond. This positive reputation mainly applies to the state of the economy and the country’s political affairs. (This has not always been the case. Notably in the 1970s Ghana offered a very different outlook. It is thanks to flight-lieutenant-turned-president Jerry J. Rawlings – and the two Bretton Woods Institutions (BWI), World Bank and the IMF – that Ghana nowadays is what it is).
However, superstition is rampant in the country. I drew attention to it at earlier occasions. See my posting on the work of Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Seamus Mirodan, both fighting infanticide in Ghana as well as Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria (June 4, 2018), and the activities of Seth Kwame Boateng and Jospeh Asakibeem (June 23, 2018), also fighting ritual baby killing in this West African country.

The article below treats the fate of women who are accused of witchcraft, sometimes triggered by jealousy and criminal intentions, sometimes based on superstition and a belief in the supernatural powers which the victims of the repression and mob justice are supposed to possess. Fortunately, the women are being rescued  by a group of benevolent nuns, but shouldn’t it be better if these age-old practices and belief in witchcraft cease to exist? (webmaster FVDK).

Women accused of witchcraft in Ghana find refuge in outpost run by sisters

Vivian Salamatu, outside her house, relates how she escaped death from angry villagers who had accused her of killing her brother-in-law. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Published: April 13, 2020
By: Global Sisters report – Doreen Ajiambo

GUSHEGU, GHANA — Vivian Salamatu and 200 hundred other women here are bound together for life. They share each other’s misfortunes and all have a similar story. They were accused of witchcraft, beaten, cast out and sent to “witch camps” that serve as havens.

“When my nephew died after a short illness, everyone hated me,” Salamatu explains in Dagbani, her native language. “My brothers-in-law said I was responsible, they accused me of being a witch.”

Dozens of elders and villagers gathered at her home to determine her innocence or guilt. One of the elders participating in the ritual test grabbed a chicken, slit its throat and flung it overhead. After it finished struggling, the chicken fell head first and died face down.

It was clear by the village standard she was a witch.

“If the chicken had died face up, then I would have been declared innocent of witchcraft,” said Salamatu, 39, a mother of three. “That night, villagers led by my brothers-in-law attacked me with machetes and set fire to my house. They wanted to kill me with my children.”

Her attackers, who had tied her up with a rope, were intercepted by nuns and local authorities. She was rescued with her children and taken to Gushegu “witch camp,” located in the north of the country.

One of the mud huts where women accused of practicing witchcraft live in the Gushegu camp of northern Ghana (Doreen Ajiambo)

“I can’t believe I’m alive today,” she said, noting that the allegations came barely a year after losing her husband in a road accident. “I had no one to protect me from the angry villagers. But I want to thank God and the sisters who came and rescued me. It was a miracle!”

Salamatu is among hundreds of women who have been rescued by the Missionary Sisters of the Poorest of the Poor and taken to Gushegu. The refuge, which is run by Sr. Ruphina Anosike and other sisters, provides homes to women accused of witchcraft. Anosike also cares for the homeless by providing meals and other necessities such as medical care and education for their children.

The immense majority of these women are widows with children. They have been accused by relatives, or sometimes by a competing wife, neighbors or village elders, of witchcraft, mainly of killing their husbands or other family members, said Anosike.

“It’s heartbreaking to see that these women suspected to be witches are no longer needed in their families and communities,” she said, noting that her camp, which accommodates more than 200 women, has become a safe haven for widows accused of witchcraft. “They stay here because they have no place to go, no food to eat, and no one cares for them.”

The motive to call someone a witch

Anosike notes that the chief motive behind such acts is often greed, and labeling these women as witches becomes a means of taking away their husbands’ wealth. Camp residents also include mentally ill women and children who are considered outcasts in Ghana, she said.

Salamatu agreed there is a motive.

“My father-in-law wanted to take cows, land and some money that my husband had left, and I refused,” she said, adding that her husband’s relatives became hostile to her and toward her children. “They later accused me of practicing witchcraft so that I could be chased away and leave them everything. One of my neighbors told me they held a meeting to discuss how they could chase me away so that they would be able to take my properties.”

Thousands of women and their children in northern Ghana have been left homeless after being accused of witchcraft, according to a 2018 report by the U.S. State Department. The report indicates that there are more than six witch camps spread throughout the northern region, holding 2,000-2,500 adult women and 1,000-1,200 children.

There is a widespread belief in witchcraft in the West African nation, according to 2009 Gallupsurveys, despite 96% of the population declaring themselves to be active worshippers in one of several world religions. The belief in the phenomenon has devastating consequences. Elderly women believed to be witches are often persecuted, ousted from their homes or even murdered. Their children are also cursed and not allowed to go back home after they have grown.

Though both men and women can be accused of witchcraft, the vast majority are women. Men are considered to have a strong socio-political base and are therefore better able to successfully contest the accusations leveled against them, knowledgeable observers say.

The witch camps are unique to northern Ghana. However, the West African nation shares with other African countries an endemic belief in witchcraft, with drought, death, poor harvest, illness and other natural disasters blamed on black magic.

Screenshot of the GSR video of sisters and women at the Gushegu camp in northern Ghana (credit: Doreen Ajiambo). Click on the picture in the original article (see source below) to watch the video.

The situation has prompted religious sisters in this part of the country to provide residential shelter for the women and children shunned by relatives. Anosike depends on supporters to build homes at the camp and she pleads for food, clothing, bedding and other necessities from neighbors and passers-by.

“I actually go out every morning to beg for food for these women to ensure they have something to eat,” said Anosike. “The bishop also helps us very much, especially with food and money to run the camp. These women also survive by collecting firewood, selling little bags of peanuts or working in nearby farms.”

A superstition that sticks

Witchcraft is a stubborn phenomenon in African cultures, experts say. Witches and wizards are thought to possess intrinsic and supernatural powers that are used to create evil. Many seek out the services of witchdoctors and wizards to find solutions for their relationships, troubles and even for good health. However, the practice has for years also had its negative side. In worst-case scenarios, such beliefs lead to murder and destruction of the accused witches, they said.

“The belief in witchcraft is deeply entrenched in Africa culture and dictates people’s lives,” said Charles Nzioka, a professor of sociology at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. “Witchcraft is in people’s minds. If someone loses a job, Westerners assume that it’s due to economic conditions or poor performance. An African is likely to say that someone used witchcraft to make or confuse an employer to hate and sack the person concerned.”

Nzioka said that the belief in witchcraft in Africa is intended to keep order in society; any deviation in behavior may lead to an allegation. As in Ghana, women who do not want to conform to society’s expectations may fall victim to the accusations of witchcraft, he said.

“For instance, when a woman accumulates wealth and becomes independent, she deviates from local norms that recognize only men to own wealth, and as such she becomes a target,” said Nzioka. “Sometimes women are targeted by relatives of the husbands in order to inherit their son’s wealth.”

Nato Blenjuo, who has lived at Gushegu camp for the last two decades, explained how she escaped death by a whisker after villagers claimed she had used witchcraft to kill her ailing husband. A post-mortem was reportedly held, establishing that her husband died of malaria, she said. Malaria has continued to be the leading cause of death in the country, according to 2018 data of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“They really wanted to kill me,” said the 66-year-old widow who lives in one of the huts made of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung and cow’s urine. “My stepson led other irate villagers with machetes to attack me at night. They set my house on fire, but I was lucky to escape with my three children into a nearby bush and I made my way to this camp.”

Srs. Ruphina Anosike, left, and Monica Yahaya, second from right, help sort out the grains that had been swept from the market by women accused of witchcraft in Ghana. These women survive by collecting firewood, selling little bags of peanuts or working in nearby farms. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Sr. Monica Yahaya said that women are seen as the most vulnerable members of the population and are therefore often labeled as witches because of their inability to contest the accusations. This explains why there are no men at the camps and women are predominantly the victims, she said.

“The problem here is that relatives cannot allow widows to inherit their husband’s possessions,” said Yahaya, who works with Anosike at Gushegu camp. “They will definitely look for a reason to accuse them and then send them away from their homes in order to take properties left by their dead husbands. Without a husband, these women really have no way to defend themselves after such an accusation.”

Osei Ekow, an elder, denies that greed is the impetus behind calling someone a witch. He says the villagers rely on the traditional slain chicken ritual to determine whether a woman is a witch.

“That’s our culture, and we must respect it,” said Ekow, 75, who says he has witnessed tens of thousands of widows being sent away from their homes. “There’s no way that ritual can be wrong. These women taking refuge at the camps are all witches because it was culturally confirmed.”

The government has on several occasions tried in vain to close down the camps in a bid to discourage attacks on women. Officials contend the very existence of witch camps encourages people to levy allegations of witchcraft knowing that the women they accuse will find refuge at the camps.

“People should stop accusing and harassing innocent women of witchcraft,” said Issah Mahmudu, a government official who oversees the Legal Aid Department in northern Ghana. “We want to encourage suspected witches and wizards who have been harassed to report to the police so that investigations begin. The law protects every citizen.”

Mahmudu said the incidents of witchcraft accusations have recently declined but encouraged local chiefs to dispel outdated cultural practices that are injurious to others.

“These women are vulnerable, that’s the reason they are attacked,” he said. “The chiefs should arrest any person committing offenses that are recognized under the law. The laws of this country condemn dehumanizing the fundamental human rights of all citizens.”

Anosike and other sisters are trying to shape the way people think about witchcraft. They conduct weekly seminars in various villages to campaign against ongoing violence on women, educate the public about the myths that surround witchcraft, rehabilitate and reintegrate women into their homes, and call for an end to the persecution of alleged witches and to superstition.

“Cases of women being chased away from their homes have of late been reduced as a result of the ongoing campaign, but more needs to be done,” she said. “We are going to continue educating people in the villages to ensure women live freely without fear of their rights being abused due to the belief in witchcraft.”

However, victims of the attacks call for more to be done.

“I have never been a witch, I don’t know how witchcraft works,” said Salamatu. “Men should treat us with dignity because we are all human beings created in the image of God.”

A child stands outside her mother’s hut house at Gushegu camp. Her mother was accused of killing her husband. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Source: Women accused of witchcraft in Ghana find refuge in outpost run by sisters

Districts in Northern Ghana (in the northeast: Gushiegu District)

Ghana: girl killed for rituals

If the news reported below is true, it is a horrific crime. I do not have the impression that ritualistic murders occur frequently in Ghana, although I may be wrong. Perpetrators may effectively hide all traces related to their heinous crimes  – or the families and communities hit by these murders may prefer to remain silent about these age-old practices…. for fear, or for reasons of complicity…
Let’s hope that the law enforcement officers act swiftly and will soon identify the murderer(s) and arrest him (her) / them (webmaster FVDK). 

Girl Killed For Rituals

Published: March 24, 2020
By: Modern Ghana 

A two-year-old girl has been found dead, raising suspicion of ritual purposes.

Her body was found in a big gully full of water at Apatrapa, a suburb of Kumasi, on Friday morning. 

Eyewitnesses alleged that her tongue was cut away, but the police are yet to confirm their allegation. 

Two different names — Ama Serwah and Maame Yaa — have so far surfaced as the girl’s name. 

According to reports, some assailants broke into a house in the area and they took away the young girl on Thursday. 

Barely 24 hours after the girl had been kidnapped, her body was found lying in a big gully in the area, sparking fear and panic. 

DAILY GUIDE gathered that the young girl’s body had since been deposited in a morgue, awaiting autopsy. 

Meanwhile, the police in Kumasi are said to have commenced investigations to help arrest the culprits and are doing everything possible to get to the bottom of the matter. 

—Daily Guide

Source: Girl Killed For Rituals

Ghana: Sunyani traditional authorities declare war on ritual and serial killers

The recent outcry of the Sunyani traditional authorities leads to mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am glad with their protest against the rituals killings that plague the Brong Ahafo Region and terrorize the people of Sunyani and its environs. However, even though the declaration of war against ritual killers was wrapped in ritual and traditional rites invoking the powers of the gods and ancestors, it is also a token of mistrust in official local and regional security forces who fail to reassure the population by arresting and prosecuting the alleged perpetrators preventing further heinous ritualistic acts, in short, to maintain the rule of law.
On the other hand, it is shameful and painful realizing that ritualistic killings and murders still take place on such a large scale that public demonstration against these criminal practices is warranted. Let’s hope that the traditional authorities thus contribute to tipping the scale and I wish from the bottom of my heart that their demonstration will act as a wake-up call for the official Ghanian authorities to make the region a safe heaven for all of its people, be it children, adults or elderly people (webmaster FVDK).

Sunyani traditional authorities declare war on ritual and serial killers
Published: February 5, 2020
By: Christopher Tetteh – GNA

Source: Sunyani Traditional Authorities declare war on ritual and serial killers

Ghana: ocultist arrested for allegedly killing his aunt

Published: October 9, 2019
By: GNA – My Joy Online

The Sege police last Sunday arrested 24-year-old Isaiah Tetteh Sebbie at Goi, a suburb of Sege, for allegedly butchering his aunt for ‘ritual’ purposes.

The deceased, Madam Tornyasi Sebbie, aged 70, is said to be at loggerheads with the suspect before her untimely death.

Sege Police Commander DSP George Aboagye told the GNA that, about 6am on Sunday, 6th October 2019, Alex Sebbie and Otu Sebbie (children of the deceased) brought the woman who was then unconscious, to the police station and complained that they found her lying in a pool of blood in front of her shop.

He said, a medical form was quickly prepared for her to be sent to the Ada East District Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

According to him, investigations revealed that the culprit had been quarrelling with the victim which forced her to move out of the family house.

He said, around 5am on the day of the incident, a prime witness saw the suspect butchering the victim with matches.

“After arresting him, we went into his room with the Assemblyman of the area Mr. John Akwafo Tsiri, and found items which proved to us that he is an occultist.

We have arraigned him before court and he is to reappear on 21st of this month for interrogations, ” he explained.

The Police chief said the suspect had since been remanded in police custody while the corpse had been deposited at the Police Hospital Morgue for autopsy.

Meanwhile, there are rumours circulating that the suspect who is a community Animal Health Worker, slaughters animals indiscriminately to pacify his objects of worship.

Others also accused him of exhuming human dead bodies for occultic purposes.

The police had since launched investigations into the issues.

Source: Occultist arrested for allegedly killing his aunt 

Sege is located in the Dangme East district of the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.

Ghana: … about the hanging of the Kibi murderers in 1944 (2009 article)

My September 12, 2019 posting – the day before yesterday – was about an old case of ritualistic murder in Ghana (then still called Gold Coast colony), ‘A chieftaincy dispute and ritual murder in Elmina, Ghana, 1945-6’.
I have been following ritualistic murders and related incidents in Ghana for well over ten years now and reported on these crimes on a special page of my website Liberia’s Past and Present, called ‘ritual murders, not only in Liberia‘. The oldest case reported on the relevant Ghana page of the website dates from March 9, 2009 and although the main theme of the article concerned is quite different – it deals with the question who is to be credited for the foundation of ‘Ghana’ and the naming of the new republic which succeeded to the English colony of Gold Cost – my attention was drawn to a paragraph dealing with an old ritualistic murder case.

It reads as follows:

“Among the five causes of the deterioration in public confidence identified by the Colonial Office, was what they described as “the bitterness of the group of politicians, led by Dr. J.B. Danquah, over the hanging of the Kibi murderers”.  According to a Colonial Office report on the disturbances in the Gold Coast, “[t]he Kibi affair changed the pattern of Gold Coast politics. A number of Kibi people were tried for the ritual murder at the time of the funeral, in 1944, of Nana Sir Ofori Atta, Omanhene of Akyem Abuakwa. They were defended in a notoriously long trial by many lawyers led by Dr. J.B. Danquah and employed by their relatives. The bitterness of this family over the trial and the conviction of some among their relatives as murderers resulted in their instituting an uncompromising political campaign against the Governor and the Government. This group subsequently formed the hard core of the extreme nationalists who in August 1947 founded the United Gold Coast Convention”.  

The original article is presented below. 

One reason why I post it here is to demonstrate that ritualistic killings are no new phenomenon in Ghana. Another reason is to show that the colonial authorities acted against these inhuman crimes. The third and last reason is to draw attention to the fact that ritualistic killings have never been eradicated in Ghana. The main question which immediately arises is : Why?

This will be the subject of another posting. (webmaster FVDK)

From the Gold Coast colony to present-day Ghana

Published: March 9, 2009
By: Ekow Nelson – GhanaWeb

President Evans Atta Mills’ proposal to honour our first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah has generated a lot of debate on both sides of Ghana’s historical political divide. Apart from a minority who are opposed to another public holiday, the divisions are over whether the proposed Founder’s Day should be bestowed only on Nkrumah or be made Founders’ Day, extended to include the so-called ‘Big Six’ who were arrested after the 1948 riots and disturbances following the shooting and killing of three ex-servicemen.

The argument in favour of extending the President’s proposed honour is predicated on the belief that the arrests of the then leaders of the U.G.C.C. and the establishment of the Commission of Enquiry into the 1948 riots under the chairmanship of Aiken Watson Q.C., was a watershed moment in our country’s history and marked the beginning of the final journey toward independence. But is this credible?

From the end of World War II until the appointment of the Watson Commission, there was a gradual but palpable deterioration in public confidence in the Government of the Gold Coast, among other things, because of soaring inflation and growing shortages of consumer goods. Farmers were dissatisfied with the policy of cutting-out cocoa trees ravaged by the swollen-shoot disease with no compensation. Ex-servicemen who had fought in World War II for ‘King and country’ had only been awarded meagre gratuity and were experiencing similar hardships to the general populace. Neither the chiefs in the Joint Provincial Council, nor the elite political class, championed the cause of the growing mass of disaffected people and it fell upon Nii Kwabena Bonnne II, Osu Alata Mantse, to lead the agitation against increasing economic hardship and in particular, inexorable rises in the prices of consumer goods.

Just over a month after Nkrumah’s arrival in the Gold Coast in 1947, this growing discontent found expression in the boycott of mostly foreign-owned trading firms organized by Nii Kwabena Bonnne on 26th January 1948. The boycott continued for a month while its leaders negotiated price reductions with the government and the trading firms – the Association of West African Merchants (AWAM). However, on 28th February 1948 when the boycott was due to be called off, ex-servicemen set-off on a march to the Castle to present a petition to the Governor. In the ensuing kerfuffle, the British officer in charge of Castle security Superintendent Colin Imray gave orders to open fire, killing three ex-servicemen – Sgt. Adjetey, Private Odartey Lamptey and Corporal Attipoe – and injuring many others in the process.

News of the shooting sparked days of rioting in Accra by alr eady angry crowds incensed by the high price of food, which they blamed on the greed of foreign merchants. Shops and offices owned by foreigners were attacked, looted and the violence soon spread to other towns. Faced with widespread disorder, Governor Sir Gerald Creasy declared a state of emergency. Troops were called out while police arrested the ‘trouble makers’. Leaders of the U.G.C.C. – the so-called Big Six: J. B. Danquah, Ofori Atta, Akufo Addo, Ako Adjei, Obetsebi Lamptey and Kwame Nkrumah – were arrested and flown to the Northern Territories where they were detained for six weeks.

While it is true that both Kwame Nkrumah and Dr. Joseph Boakye Danquah addressed the ex-servicemen at a rally in Accra on 20th February 1948 where their petition to the Governor was drawn up, it is clear that the leaders of U.G.C.C. did not anticipate or plan the 1948 riots which was triggered by a combination of public disaffection over rising prices and shortages and the shooting of innocent ex-servicemen whose only crime appears to have been to petition the Governor.

After interrogating the accused the Watson commissioners concluded that Nkrumah was mainly to blame for the disorders. Curiously, the other leaders of the U.G.C.C also blamed Nkrumah for the riots and some, including Obestebi Lamptey and William Ofori-Atta, ransacked his house looking for evidence that he was a communist.

So, isn’t it rather breathtakingly hypocritical that while the U.G.C.C. leadership washed its hands of the 1948 riots and blamed Nkrumah for the disturbances that led to their arrests and earned them the sobriquet of the ‘Big Six’, 52 years on, their supporters wish to claim credit for triggering the process that led to the establishment of the Watson Commission and in consequence, the Coussey Constitutional Commission (from which Nkrumah and the Trades Unions were excluded) and the march toward independence? Without the 1948 riots it is unlikely the constitutional process that paved the way for our independence may have been initiated and the so-called ‘Big Six’ had no role in those events.

The other argument put forward by opponents of President Mills’s proposal is that prior to Nkrumah’s arrival, the U.G.C.C. leadership had started the agitation for self-rule. It is worth, however, examining the motivations behind the establishment of the U.G.C.C. to test this claim.

Among the five causes of the deterioration in public confidence identified by the Colonial Office, was what they described as “the bitterness of the group of politicians, led by Dr. J.B. Danquah, over the hanging of the Kibi murderers”.  According to a Colonial Office report on the disturbances in the Gold Coast, “[t]he Kibi affair changed the pattern of Gold Coast politics. A number of Kibi people were tried for the ritual murder at the time of the funeral, in 1944, of Nana Sir Ofori Atta, Omanhene of Akyem Abuakwa. They were defended in a notoriously long trial by many lawyers led by Dr. J.B. Danquah and employed by their relatives. The bitterness of this family over the trial and the conviction of some among their relatives as murderers resulted in their instituting an uncompromising political campaign against the Governor and the Government. This group subsequently formed the hard core of the extreme nationalists who in August 1947 founded the United Gold Coast Convention”.

It is also far from clear that the immediate aim of the movement was to seek independence. In a letter to the Secretary of State for the Colonies Mr Creech Jones in December 1947, Sir Kenneth Bradley, officer administering the Gold Coast, argued that the motivations for the establishment of the U.G.C.C. had much to do with the personal ambitions of its leadership to supplant the Chiefs on the Joint Provincial Council in the power-sharing arrangement with the colonial government.

According Bradley, “one of the [U.G.C.C.’s] immediate aims is to wrest power from the chiefs.  Those leading chiefs of the Colony with whom I have discussed the Convention agree that this is the main immediate aim of promoters of the party; and they are somewhat disturbed by the party’s activities.  This assessment of the Convention’s present objective is borne out also by the reports of the meetings so far held.  None of the leading chiefs of the Colony have been invited to take any part in the framing of the Constitution, nor has any approach been made to the Joint Provincial Council or the Ashanti Confederacy Council.”

While it was clearly a nationalist movement, the U.G.C.C. was not national in its reach, at least until Nkrumah’s arrival four months after its inauguration in Saltpond. As Bradley pointed out, its supporters were mainly in the large coastal towns of Accra, Saltpond, Cape Coast, Sekondi and Kibi the home of Dr Danquah, which was also the mainspring of the movement. The Watson Commission too observed that the “U.G.C.C. did not really get down to business until the arrival of Mr Nkrumah on 16 December 1947” who was singularly responsible for broadening the appeal of the movement across the country.

The role and contribution of U.G.C.C. in the struggle for independence is not in doubt but to hoist it, almost exclusively, as the harbinger organisation for Ghana’s independence is to overstate its case. It was neither the first nationalist movement in neither the Gold Coast nor the last; indeed it supplanted the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society which until then championed the interests of natives of the colony. Like the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society, it too, was supplanted – by the Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party – when it [the U.G.C.C.] became a “spent political force” (as the some founding members of the U.G.C.C. said of the Society in 1947). Ghana’s struggle for independence began long before the U.G.C.C. and the Big Six and there is a case for honouring all of those like Joseph Casley-Hayford, John Mensah Sarbah Nii Kwabena Bonnne II and William Essuman Gwira (Kobina) Sekyi, who have contributed immensely to our nationhood. But are we to believe that the likes of Obetsebi Lamptey, Ako Adjei, Edward Akuffo-Addo and William Ofori-Atta, their contributions notwithstanding, are more deserving than these stalwarts of 19th and 20th century Gold Coast only because they were part of the ‘Big Six’ arrested after the 1948 riots? No!

The final leg of the argument against declaring 21st September Founder’s Day is that Nkrumah was not the founder of Ghana. If anything, in addition to his other immense intellectual and political achievements, Dr. J.B. Danquah was founder by virtue of proposing we adopt the name Ghana, his supporters argue. It is true that Dr. J.B. Danquah demonstrated in his paper “The Ghana Hypothesis” that the inhabitants of the then the Gold Coast were descended from the first of the three major empires of Western Sudan. In a Colonial Office despatch in 1949, the officer administering the government then observed that “Nkrumah’s axial fantasy – Ghanaland – [had] been cribbed from Dr. Danquah. With some malversation of history and considerable recourse to mystical interpretation, Dr. Danquah demonstrated some time ago that the Gold Coast is the ancient state of Ghana. The romantic notion was enthusiastically received and much elaborated by local bards but it was Mr. Nkrumah who transformed it into a political conception”.   In other words, Nkrumah could have chosen not to take inspiration from Dr. Danquah’s hypothesis but he complimented him by making what was a vague and ropey conception the reality that became the motion of independence tabled on August 3rd 1956. However, when the time came for Dr. Danquah and Nkrumah’s opponents to make the former’s hypothesis a reality, they spurned the opportunity. In a memorandum on 29th August 1956 to the United Kingdom cabinet, the then Secretary of State for Colonies described the events leading up to the motion: “The new Legislative Assembly was opened on 31st July, and on 3rd August the Government introduced its expected motion calling for independence within the Commonwealth. All the Opposition members boycotted the debate …and the motion was passed nem con. If there had been a vote, the Opposition could not have mustered more than 32 votes against the Governments 72. I must regard the motion therefore as having been passed by a “reasonable majority.” . The full text of the motion reads as follows: “that this Assembly do authorise the Government of the Gold Coast to request Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, as soon as practicable this year, to procure the enactment by the United Kingdom Parliament of an Act to provide for independence of the Gold Coast as a sovereign and independent State within the Commonwealth under the name of Ghana.|””   That motion was not drafted by Dr. Danquah; indeed as noted Dr. Danquah’s party boycotted the debate to request independence and to change our name from the Gold Coast to Ghana. He may have borrowed the idea from Dr. Danquah but it was Nkrumah who ‘christened’ the Gold Coast, Ghana.”

The arguments against President Mills’ proposition from the UP/NPP side is not credible, especially when one comes to think of the fact that they presided over the golden jubilee celebrations and had eight years in which they could have honoured the ‘Big Six’ beyond having their portraits put in the new currency notes. Now they are attempting opportunistically to gate-crash President Mills’s bash for Nkrumah with rather weak and hollow arguments.

The current geographic borders of Ghana which integrates parts of what was Trans-Volta Togoland for example was negotiated by Nkrumah. It was Nkrumah who stopped separatists for dismembering and balkanizing the country as we know it. If the so-called Big Six had their way in 1956 Ghana would not look anything like what we know today. In its administrative structure, organisation and physical boundaries, the idea of Ghana as we know it today is by and large Nkrumah’s ‘creation’.

Source: Why dilute Mills’ Founder’s Day with Founders’ Day?

A CHIEFTAINCY DISPUTE AND RITUAL MURDER IN ELMINA, GHANA, 1945–46

The Journal of African History (Volume 41, Issue 2, July 2000,  pp. 197-219)  contains a very interesting article on a chieftaincy dispute and ritual murder in the British colony of Gold Coast, 1945. I do not present the entire article here for copyright reasons. However, I found it relevant enough to include the abstract of the article here, also as a kind of appetizer. Interested readers are referred to the source.

Also see my September 14, 2019 posting (webmaster FVDK).

Author: ROGER GOCKING

Abstract:

Between 6.30 and 7.00 a.m. on Monday morning, 19 March 1945 the body of a young girl of ten was found on the beach a short distance from the town of Elmina at a popular bathing spot known as Akotobinsin. According to the coroner, she had been dead for between 24 and 48 hours. There was no water in her lungs or stomach which indicated that she had not died by drowning. Instead, her upper and lower lips, both cheeks, both eyes, her private parts and anus, and several elliptical pieces of skin from different parts of her body had been removed. Many of these wounds exposed large blood vessels and the coroner concluded that ‘death was due to shock and hemorrhage’.

She was identified as Ama Krakraba who had been missing since the evening of Saturday, 17 March. Her frantic mother had immediately suspected foul play and had confronted Kweku Ewusie, the Regent of the Edina State, who was later accused of having ‘enticed’ the young girl to the third floor of Bridge House, where he lived, ‘by the ruse of sending her out on an errand to buy tobacco’. There she had been murdered so that her body parts could be used to make ‘medicine’ to help the Regent’s faction win a court case that was critical for their political standing in Elmina.

On the 24 March, after a preliminary investigation, the colony’s attorney-general brought charges of murder against Kweku Ewusie and four others from Elmina: Joe Smith, Herbert Krakue, Nana Appram Esson, alias Joseph Bracton Johnson, and Akodei Mensah. They were tried at the Accra Criminal Assizes from 16 May to 2 June, found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to be hanged.

The West African Court of Appeal turned down their appeal on 28 June 1945 as did the Privy Council on 14 January 1946. On 1 February 1946, Kweku Ewusie, Joe Smith and Herbert Krakue were hanged at James Fort in Accra, and on 2 February, J. B. Johnson and Akodei Mensah met the same fate.

Source: A CHIEFTAINCY DISPUTE AND RITUAL MURDER IN ELMINA, GHANA, 1945–6

Ho, Ghana: alleged killer of an 8-year-old girl arrested

Published: September 6, 2019
By: Ghana JoyNews Volta Region, regional correspondent Ivy Setordjie

A man in his late 30s has been arrested at Adaklu in the Volta region for the alleged murder of an 8-year-old girl, Shine Agyima in the Ho Central Municipality of the Volta region. 

According to the residents in Nyive where the girl was murdered, the suspect confessed to the killing.

He reportedly did this for ritual purposes. The JoyNews reporter explained, the suspect said he was instructed by a fetish priest to drink the blood of a girl in a ritual meant to bring him money.

The Mankrando of Nyive Togbe Apasu strongly believes the state of the victim’s body points to ritual murder. 

The suspect, according to the residents, stays not too far from family of the victim in Nyive. The family and residents of Nyive said they are living in fear as a result of the incident. They fear there are others in the community who may be targetting children for ritual murder.

The murder suspect

The mother of the girl Serwa Abalu said she is traumatized by the loss of her innocent daughter.

“I am a poor woman with no husband to help me and now they have killed my only daughter “ Serwa Abalu lamented.

The Togbe has pleaded with the police to make ensure that all persons connected to the crime are arrested and put before court.

The  Volta Regional Police PRO, Prince Dogbatseyi in an interview with JoyNews stated the investigation is ongoing to make sure that justice is given to the girl.

Source: Ho: alleged killer of an 8-year-old girl arrested