Death of Death Penalty in Ghana

Recommended reading for those interested in the pros and cons of the death penalty.
(webmaster FVDK)

Death of the death penalty in Ghana

Published: November 3, 2022
By: Prosper Andre Batinge – Graphic Online, Ghana

For some time now, Ghanaian penal advocates tracking liberal global criminal justice crusaders have been trying to kill the death penalty with only near successes.

The real chance at abolishing the death penalty in Ghana emerged in the case of Dexter Johnson v the Republic [2011] 1 SCGLR 601. But a majority decision of Ghana’s Supreme Court, against the spirited protestations of the minority, especially Justice Samuel Kofi Date-Bah (as he then was), declined and passed the buck to Parliament.

In throwing the ball from the Supreme Court to the chambers of Parliament, then Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah (now the Chief Justice of Ghana) wrote: “I am aware that the death penalty has been abolished in other jurisdictions, especially in the Commonwealth countries.

“I would, like my brother Dotse JSC, advocate statutory intervention like other jurisdictions where they have degrees of murder instead of judicial intervention by way of interpretation.” [Dexter Johnson at 703.]

Bills

Parliament now has a clear chance to abolish the death penalty. The Madina Constituency lawmaker, Mr Francis-Xavier Sosu, is a front advocate of the Death Penalty Bills: The Criminal and Other Offences (Amendment) Act 1960 (Act 29) and the Armed Forces (Amendment) Act 1962 (Act 105).

These Bills seek to amend sections 46, 49, 49a, 180, 194 and 317a of Act 29 and sections 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 40, 78, and 79 of Act 105. The Bills were gazzetted on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

These Bills seek to abolish the death penalty for ordinary offences, still leaving in the purgatory of the death penalty those convicted of serious crimes like High Treason and Treason.

Cruel

Ghana has not executed anybody convicted and sentenced to the death penalty since 1993. In strict terms and in practice thus Ghana appears not a death penalty state.

But the nation’s trial courts continue to impose the death penalty on persons upon conviction. Some 165 convicted persons were on the death row at the end of 2021; the number is now more than 170.

The death penalty offends the right to life etched in crucial human rights conventions, covenants, and declarations.

The death penalty also offends African customary law. Ubuntu was influential in abolishing the death penalty in South Africa. The South African Constitutional Court in S v Makwanyane held that the death penalty violated the right to human dignity, underscoring that the right to dignity was an integral part of ubuntu.

The death penalty is too cruel and has proven parallel to the values of evolved human sensibilities. The death penalty appears a relic of backward societies of a backward era.

The psychological torture to people on death row is immense. They wait for the never-arriving day of their execution. Some have taken their own lives during this uncertain period of waiting.

As well, the psychological effect of the death penalty on executing officers is no less tormenting. The introduction of so-called mercy killing such as injecting convicts to die peacefully and painlessly has not lessen the cruelty of the practice on both the victim and the killer.

Innocent people – not infrequently – are accused, convicted, and executed for crimes, of which they are not culpable. Fairly recently, Mr Emmanuel Tetteh was released from prison after he was wrongfully sentenced to death for murder. He did 33 years behind bars. At his release, he was 75 years.

The case against abolishing the death sentence, therefore, often makes both theoretical and common sense. But on few occasions, the argument against the death penalty is difficult to advance with clear conscience in a society of persistence instances of ritual murders.

Some of our compatriots believe that they can sacrifice their fellow human beings for money, and they, according to allegations too numerous to ignore, kill others with the hope of attaining wealth.

Some of the victims of ritual murders are young citizens in their prime with full potential of their lives in front of them, promising lives cut painfully short by evil people. It is with pain that I still believe and argue that even a ritual murderer ought not to suffer the death penalty.

Parliament

Writing for the majority in the case of Dexter Johnson supra, Justice Jones Dotse (as he then was) opined that “the time has possibly come for the Parliament of Ghana to seriously consider whether to have a policy shift in the mandatory death penalty regime imposed on those convicted of murder.” {[2011] 1 SCGLR 601 at 702.}

More than a full decade after the Supreme Court’s indication, and after years of campaigns to end the death penalty, Parliament appears willing to kill the death penalty in the case of ordinary crimes.

As Parliament commences a new session of its lawmaking duties last Tuesday, October 25, 2022, it should ensure that the death penalty ends with the end of the Third Meeting of the Second Session of the Eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.

The writer is a lawyer/doctoral fellow at Fordham Law School, N.Y., USA: 
E-mail: pbatinge@fordham.edu

Source: Death of Death Penalty in Ghana

Ghana: Invoke death penalty as punishment for ritual killers — PNC

In many African countries the capital punishment has been abolished, yet in a number of countries people start pressurizing their governments to re-introduce the death penalty notably for convicted ritual murderers.

Consequently, in Malawi and other Southern African countries (Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe) as well as in East Africa (Uganda), in West Africa (Nigeria) and in Central Africa (Equatorial Guinea) the death penalty is no longer a taboo or has been already legalized.

In the aftermath of an increasing number of shocking ritual murders it is now Ghana’s turn. Recently, the People’s National Convention (PNC) called on the government to reintroduce the death penalty for convicted ritual murderers. (webmaster FVDK).

Invoke death penalty as punishment for ritual killers — PNC

Published: October 2, 2022
By: Modern Ghana

Source: Invoke death penalty as punishment for ritual killers — PNC

Ghana – Mankessim ritual murder: Awakrom chief calls for arrest of ‘missing’ fetish priest, Ebusuapanyin

For a better understanding of the article cited below it is highly recommended to read yesterday’s posting with useful background information on the cultural-historic background pertaining to this ritual murder case as well as background information on the three arrested suspects (webmaster FVDK).

Mankessim murder: Awakrom chief calls for arrest of ‘missing’ fetish priest, Ebusuapanyin

Two of the arrested suspects

Published: October 2, 2022
By: Ghana Web

Source: Mankessim murder: Awakrom chief calls for arrest of ‘missing’ fetish priest, Ebusuapanyin

Ghana – Mankessim ritual murder: Fetish priest, Ebusuapanyin ‘missing’

Before reading the article cited below it may be useful to read the following background.

Abusua is the name in Akan culture for a group of people that share common maternal ancestry governed by seven major ancient female abosom (deities). More historic information on the Akan people can be found here.

The traditional aspect of this cultural history should be kept in mind when reading and trying to understand the following. After all, nowadays’ ritualistic activities find their origin in ancient, traditional cultural practices albeit not necessarily in the same form. However, this should not be interpreted as condoning or justifying cruel, criminal and outdated rites nowadays, in the 21st century. This explains why Nana Akwa III, the Chief of Akwakrom, called for the arrest of the missing two key persons, the fetish priest of the community who was close to one of the suspects, presently in custody, Christopher Ekow Quansah (Nana Clarke), the Tufohen, and one Mr. Kwesi Gyan, the Abiradze Ebusuapanyin, also a relation of Nana Clarke.

Nana Clarke and a self-styled pastor, Pastor Michael Darko Amponsah (Soft Kofi), have been arrested suspected of ritually murdering a young lady, Georgina Asor Botchwey on September 9. Also a third person has been arrested, one Abbey (aka ‘Kobbie’). Abbey is suspected to have dug the pit in which Georgina Botchwey was buried at Nana Clarke’s residence in Mankessim.
(webmaster FVDK)

Mankessim murder: Fetish priest, Ebusuapanyin ‘missing’ since incident – Report

The murder suspects are currently in police custody

Published: October 1, 2022
By: Ghana Web

“More so, prior to the arrest of the Tufohen, his Ebusuapanyin was billed to meet the Chief and elders on some teething community issues, but he cannot be found. And why is he not answering our calls,” the Chief revealed.

Source: Mankessim murder: Fetish priest, Ebusuapanyin ‘missing’ since incident – Report

Ghana – Police: Mankessim ritual murder suspects made more victims

Shocking new information emerges about more deadly ritualistic activities reportedly carried out by the two arrested suspects. The two men were arrested and accused of ritually murdering Georgina Botchway, a student nurse and young lady on September 9 . Allegedly, the two accused persons have confessed to killing more people. Following the policy investigations a third suspect was arrested.

On September 29, the late Georgina Asor Botchway was laid to rest. Hundreds of people at Yeji in the Bono East Region went to her family home to mourn. Please see the original articles (below follows the link) to watch all photographs of this impressive ceremony. For technical reasons I have only included a few photos.
(webmaster FVDK)

The victim, Georgina Asor Botchwey, a student nurse who was brutally murdered for ritualistic purposes

Mankessim murder: Accused persons allegedly confess to killing 2 more people

The ritual murder suspects Christopher Ekow Quansah, the Tufuhen of Mankessim, and self-styled pastor Michael Darko, who allegedly murdered Ms. Georgina Asor Botchwey.

Published: September 30, 2022
By: GNA

Hundreds of people on Thursday gathered in front of the house of Christopher Ekow Quansah, the Tufuhen of Mankessim, to catch a glimpse of him and self-styled pastor Michael Darko, who allegedly murdered one Ms. Georgina Asor Botchwey.

A police team had led the two accused persons, who allegedly confessed to the killing of two more people, to the house of the Tufohen, located just after the Pacific Fuel Station, near the Mankessim Lorry Station for further investigations.

The crowd hooted at them amid name calling and casting of aspersions as drivers in traffic temporarily stopped over to watch the two, who have notoriously become famous.

A source told the GNA that the two accused persons had confessed to killing three other people, a male and two females and led the police team on Thursday afternoon, to the various locations.

The witness said the accused persons first took the team to the house of the Tufohen at Mankessim and Akwakrom near Mankessim, where they carried out their criminal activities.

The police thoroughly searched the rooms and took vital documents and information for further investigation.

Again, in Mankessim, the two took the police team to a location where a male teacher was allegedly invited by them and was shot and killed instantly and his toes cut.

The police were also taken to a location in the Ekumfi District where they allegedly shot and killed a female trader and buried her under a bridge in the Ekumfi District.

The team also visited a location at Batanya in the Abura-Asebu-Kwamakese District, where they allegedly killed a young lady from Kumasi.

Apparently, the two pretended to be travel agents and prepared a traveling document for her to travel to Holland.

The two allegedly told the police that they met the lady at Batanyaa on the Cape Coast-Assin Fosu Highway and killed her.

The family of the deceased, who were at the mortuary in Cape Coast on Thursday afternoon, identified the body of their relative.

Meanwhile, a crack team of police personnel from the Central Regional Command were also led by the accused persons to arrest a 26-year-old mason in Mankessim, in connection with the alleged murder.

Sources, who did not want to be identified, told the Ghana News Agency that they saw the third suspect being whisked away and identified him as one Abbey, the in-law of Quansah.

According to the sources, Quansah, confessed to having hired the husband of one Esi Akyere to dig the pit in his houses at Mankessim.

Following the revelation, the police swiftly moved to the community and with the backing of the chiefs arrested Abbey, who initially denied the act but later admitted to digging the pit for GHs50.

According to Abbey, who is also one of the leaders of the Youth Volunteer Group in the community, the Tufohen paid him the agreed amount in installments of GHs20 and GHs30 respectively after the work.

Baffled by the revelation of the suspect, the sources said, the chiefs assembled all the members of the Youth Volunteer Group and impressed on them to confess if they were complicit in the murder case, but they all denied any knowledge of it.

The sources also said police personnel had been stationed at the deserted family house of the Tufohen where two dugout holes were found in two obscure and dirty separate rooms while it had also intensified patrols.

Earlier, Nana Alma Ill, the Chief of Akwakrom, at a press conference, called for the arrest and inquiry into the activities of a fetish priest in the community and one Mr. Kwesi Gyan, the Abiradze Ebusuapayin of the Tufohen who could not be tracked since the news broke out.

“We are appealing to the police to interrogate his fetish priest in the community who the Tufohen liked so much and took cover prior to his arrest,” Nana Akwa pleaded.

Nana Akwa, who is also a legal practitioner, wondered how the Tufohen dug the craters containing numerous bottles and dead materials without the knowledge of the Ebusuapanyin.

“Since the arrest of the Tufohen, all attempts to reach his Ebusuapanyin, who was always in the community, has not been successful. There is no way anyone can dig out two pits in two separate rooms in a family house without the knowledge of the Ebusuapanyin. This is incomprehensible.

“More so, prior to the arrest of the Tufohen, his Ebusuapanyin was billed to meet the Chief and elders on some teething community issues, but he cannot be found. And why is he not answering our calls,” the Chief revealed.

Source: Mankessim murder: Accused persons allegedly confess to killing 2 more people

More:

Mankessim murder suspects are involved in ritual murders – Police

Published: September 30, 2022
By: Modern Ghana

Source: Mankessim murder suspects are involved in ritual murders – Police

More:

Mankessim murder suspects killed a trader, too; they’re ritual murderers – Police

Published: September 30, 2022
By: Ghana Web

Source: Mankessim murder suspects killed a trader, too; they’re ritual murderers – Police

More:

Mankessim ritual murder: Third suspect arrested for digging victim’s ‘grave’

Published: September 30, 2022
By: Ghana Web

Source: Mankessim ritual murder: Third suspect arrested for digging victim’s ‘grave’

More:

In pictures: Tears flow as murdered nurse applicant’s body arrives in her hometown

To listen to listen to this article, please click here
‘Georgina Botchway returns home….’

Published: September 30, 2022
By: MyJoy Online

Hundreds of people at Yeji in the Bono East Region have thronged the family home of Georgina Botchwey, the aspiring nurse trainee who was murdered in Mankessim.

Screenshot – To watch the video on YouTube, please click here

The victim is alleged to have kidnapped, sexually assaulted, killed and buried in an uncompleted storey building for ritual purposes.

A self-styled pastor, Michael Darko, and the Tufuhene of Ekumfi Akwaakrom, Christopher Ekow Clark Quansah were subsequently arrested in connection to the crime and remanded into police custody.

Per customs, the police have released Miss Botchwey’s body to her family and it was transported back to Yeji in the Bono Region for burial.

Upon her return, mourners have taken to the home of the deceased to mourn her death.

Background

According to police reports, Miss Botchwey arrived in Cape Coast on Thursday, September 8, to seek admission to the Ankaful Psychiatric Nursing School.

She called the pastor and informed him about his presence in the Central region and her mission.

The self-styled pastor who was the boyfriend of the sister of the deceased, informed her he will pick her up after the interview.

Unbeknownst to the deceased, the pastor had connived with the chief who is the Tufuhen of Ekumfi Akwakrom to kidnap and sexually assault her.

The two suspects then killed her and buried her in the kitchen of one of the chief’s apartments.

The news was widespread in the Central Region town that the deceased has gone missing for three weeks.

The notice circulating read, “Georgina Botchwey went for an interview at Cape Coast on Wednesday and up till now she cannot be found; her phone is off. Please, anybody with information about her should call 0208503126 or 0247048711.”

Following this notice, a friend of the deceased raised an alarm about Georgina meeting with her sister’s boyfriend.

The pastor was arrested in Cape Coast and admitted to the crime.

He subsequently led the police to the residence where Georgina had been buried and her body was exhumed.

Meanwhile, the chief who fled after reports of the arrest of his accomplice has been arrested.

Georgina Asor Botchweay returns home…

Source: In pictures: Tears flow as murdered nurse applicant’s body arrives in her hometown

More:

Tears flow as family holds burial ceremony for victim of Mankessim ritual murder

Georgina Asor Botchwey was laid to rest on September 29

Published: September 30, 2022
By: Ghana Web

RIP Georgina Asor Botchwey, who was mùrdèred by Chief and Pastor finally Buried, Mother almost Collapsed
Screenshot – To watch the video please click here

Source: Tears flow as family holds burial ceremony for victim of Mankessim ritual murder

More:

Yeji mourns Mankessim murder victim as body arrives

Published: September 30, 2022
By: Modern Ghana

Screenshot – To listen to the article, please click here

Source: Yeji mourns Mankessim murder victim as body arrives

Mankessim is a town in the Central region of Ghana, approximately 75 km west of the capital Accra.

Ghana: suspects confess to ritual killing in Mankessim Murder

Warning: the following article’s graphic content may upset some readers.

Yesterday I reported on four recent ritual murder cases in Ghana, one of them being the killing for ritualistic purposes of a young lady, Georgina Asor Botchwey, a student nurse, at Mankessim, in the Central Region.

The murder took place on September 9 of this year. Two suspects have been arrested. The suspects are a self-styled pastor Michael Darko, 48; and the Tufuhene of Ekumfi Akwakrom Christopher Ekow Quansah, 65, who reportedly kidnapped, killed, and secretly buried the victim.

Screenshot – click here to watch the YouTube video

The Ghanaian police is to be commended for its swift action. We will follow closely subsequent events. (webmaster FVDK)

Suspects Confess To Ritual Killing In Mankessim Murder

Published: September 23, 2022
By: Gloria Kafu Ahiable – The Ghana Report

Two suspects involved in the murder of a student nurse at Mankessim in the Central Region have admitted to killing the victim for ritual purposes.

The suspects, a self-styled pastor Michael Darko, 48; and the Tufuhene of Ekumfi Akwakrom Christopher Ekow Quansah, 65, reportedly kidnapped, killed, and secretly buried the victim.

The police said the two confessed to “murdering the victim for money rituals.”

“During police interrogation, suspect Michael Darko, who is the alleged boyfriend of the senior sister of the deceased victim and was last seen with her, led police to the location where they had buried her after the murder.”

The body has since been exhumed and deposited at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital morgue for preservation and autopsy.

Meanwhile, the two accused persons were hauled before the District Court II in Cape Coast to respond to their crime on 22 September 2022.

They were remanded in police custody by the Cape Coast Court to reappear on 4 October 2022.

Both have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder and murder, contrary to section 46 of the Criminal Offenses Act 1960, Act 29.

What happened to the student nurse

The student nurse, Georgina Asor Botchwey, was allegedly kidnapped, killed and secretly buried by the chief and the pastor in the chief’s house at Mankessim.

The victim, 25, is said to have gone for an interview at the Ankaful Nursing Training College when the pastor, who happens to be her sister’s boyfriend, invited her for a meeting.

After the interview, the victim set off to meet her soon‐to‐be brother‐in‐law. Little did she know a trap had been set before she arrived in Cape Coast on 8 September 2022.

The self-styled pastor had conspired with the chief, who is the Tufuhene of Ekumfi Akwakrom, to kidnap and sexually assault her.

On 9 September 2022, the accused persons picked the victim up in a Taxi at the Ankaful Hospital Pedu junction in Cape Coast.

They then took her to an uncompleted building belonging to the chief, where they had dug a hole in preparation for the ritual.

The chief is said to have hit the deceased with a club, and when she fell, her sister’s boyfriend dragged her by the feet while the chief held her neck till she died.

Meanwhile, news that the deceased had been missing for three weeks began to spread in the Mankessim after she failed to return home after the interview.

A notice in circulation read:

“Georgina Botchwey went for an interview at Cape Coast on Wednesday, and up till now, she cannot be found; her phone is off. Please, anybody with information about her should call 0208503126 or 0247048711.”

Following this notice, a friend of the deceased raised an alarm about Georgina meeting with her sister’s boyfriend.

Shortly after the tip-off, the pastor was arrested in Cape Coast and admitted to the crime.

He subsequently led the police to the residence where Georgina had been buried, and her body was exhumed.

The family of the murdered student nurse later disclosed that the suspects initially demanded a ransom from them.

According to Georgina Asor Botchwey’s relatives, the pastor and his accomplice had demanded that they pay GH¢15,000 for her release.

Unfortunately, the family could not raise the said amount.

Source: Suspects Confess To Ritual Killing In Mankessim Murder

Ghana: four recent ritual murder cases: Abesim, Kasoa, Mankessim, Wa

Ghana’s reputation abroad is one of a stable democracy, with a relative healthy economy, albeit plagued by problems which are characteristic for a developing economy: low incomes, lack of jobs, shortage of capital, to name but a few.

However, there is another Ghana, a traditional Ghana, where people believe in the power of ‘juju’, in superstition, and where criminal people do not hesitate to attack their fellow countrymen for the purposes of ritualistic activities, even if this means that the victims die in the hands of their torturers and murderers.

The four cases cited below illustrate this. The ritualistic murders took place in various parts of the country.

In the past I have given ample attention to the Kasoa case which occurred to the west of the country’s capital Accra (Greater Accra region). All murder cases are tragic but the Kasoa case even more because of the background of the young murderers. The Abesim murder which made two victims, two boys of 12 and 15 years old, took place in the Brong Ahafo Region. The Mankassim murder case is situated in Ghana’s Central Region (Ashanti Region), between Cape Coast and Winneba. I will report more on this case in the next few days. Finally, the gruesome ritualistic murder in Wa, in the Upper West Region.

Tthe reader is warned that the graphic details of the murder(s) may be shocking.
(webmaster FVDK)

Four recent ritual murder cases: Abesim, Kasoa, Mankessim, Wa

Published: September 26, 2022
By: Ghana Web

was conducted at his home.

Source: Four recent ‘ritual’ murder cases: Kasoa, Abesim, Mankessim, Wa

Over 16 ritual murders occur in Ghana each year, a recent study shows

Highly recommended reading!

The article below pays attention to the first study of its kind (at least, as far as I know) that gives us reliable and in-depth information on the scale of ritual murders in a West African country as well as details pertaining to the ‘how and why’ of ritual killings in this country, Ghana. The author, Emmanuel Sarpong Owusu, is a law and criminology researcher at Aberystwyth University and a lecturer at Arden University (all in the United Kingdom). He recognizes that the reported ritual murder cases which were analyzed, and which were all reported in three local Ghanaian media outlets in the 2013-2020 period, may be only the tip of the iceberg due to a number of factors which he explains in the study.

The author studied and analyzed 96 ritual murder cases (reported in the 2013-2020 period) involving approximately 116 victims including 62 children. This means an average of 16 ritual murders including 9 child victims each year – in Ghana only, a country with a population of about 30 million. Significantly, the study shows that ritual murders form approximately 1.6% of all the murders chronicled in the country annually.

The study is entitled ‘The Superstition that Dismembers the African Child: An Exploration of the Scale and Features of Juju-Driven Paedicide in Ghana’.  The 42-page study, in volume 60 issue 1 of the ‘International Annals of Criminology’ by Cambridge University Press, has been published in open access for which the publishers are to be commended. It is available in both HTML and PDF formats at: https://doi.org/10.1017/cri.2022.2 or click here.
(webmaster FVDK)

Over 16 ritual murders occur in Ghana each year, a recent study shows

Published: August 23, 2022
By: Vincent Tutu Bawuah – Modern Ghana

Juju-driven homicide or ritual murder has been the subject of many media reports in contemporary Ghana. However, very little is known about the prevalence/magnitude and features of this crime in the country, as national data sets on the ritual murder phenomenon are presently non-existent. 

To help address the problem relating to the paucity of information on ritual murder, Emmanuel Sarpong Owusu (also known as Black Power), a law and criminology researcher at Aberystwyth University and a lecturer at Arden University (all in the United Kingdom), has conducted a dynamic study on juju and ritual paedicides/pedicides (i.e. killing children for ritual or occult purposes) in Ghana, the first of its kind in a West African setting. 

The study sought to establish the scale and identify the primary features, motivations, and socio-cultural, religious and economic contexts of ‘ritual paedicide’ (a phrase coined by the researcher himself) in contemporary Ghana. It also examines the criminal justice system’s responses to such murders. 

To realize the defined aim, an in-depth analysis of ritual homicide cases/reports publicized in three local Ghanaian media outlets (the Daily GraphicGhanaian Times, and Daily Guide) between September 2013 and August 2020 was carried out. Semi-structured interviews involving 20 participants were then conducted to gain additional insights into key aspects of the results of the media content analysis. 

The following are some of the key findings of the study: 

A total of 96 reports/articles on ritual murder were extracted from the websites of the three media outlets perused, and this involved approximately 116 victims. Out of the 116 victims, 62 were children. This means that at least 16.5 ritual murders involving approximately 9 child victims occur in Ghana each year. The study also indicates that ritual paedicide forms approximately 1.6% of all the murders chronicled in the country annually. The researcher however admits that the number of ritual paedicide cases identified in the selected media outlets may be only the tip of the iceberg due to a number of limitations highlighted in the study. 

Most ritual paedicide victims (over 79%) are children of low socio-economic backgrounds in rural and semi-rural communities. There is no significant difference in the number of boys and girls murdered. Blood, the head, the limbs, and the private parts are the most sought-after body parts. Several reasons have been suggested for this trend. Ritual paedicide cases were more prevalent in the western part of Ghana than in other areas of the country. A reason for this development has been suggested in the study. 

Poor parental supervision is a significant risk factor for ritual paedicide. Over 70% of the victims were kidnapped while playing outside their homes unsupervised, going to school or fetching water from a stream unaccompanied, or running errands for their parents or other family members. Though letting children under 10 years roam about unsupervised appears to be a normal practice in most African communities, the study cautions against it. 

Most ritual murders involve multiple perpetrators, and a number of factors have been offered to explain this trend. Most perpetrators and prime suspects are males, aged between 20 and 39 years, mostly unemployed or financially handicapped. However, the study does not rule out the involvement of rich and educated people who are highly likely to hire others (ideally, poor or unemployed youth) to commit the barbaric crime rather than doing it themselves. 

Unlike other forms of homicide, perpetrators of ritual paedicide are strangers nearly as often as being family members and acquaintances. Fathers, stepfathers, and uncles are the dominant culprits in cases where victims and perpetrators are related. 

The most dominant motivation for ritual murder in Ghana is pecuniary gain. Among the key factors that account for the prevalence and persistence of ritual murders in the country are widespread unemployment and concomitant economic privations, obsession with juju, the increasing popularity of ‘cyber-criminality’ and the so-called Sakawa Boys, exposure of Ghanaian youth to African movies that portray juju and juju rituals as an efficient wealth-guaranteeing religious practice, illiteracy, and the emergence of a new ‘consumerist ethos’ that has engrossed the Ghanaian society and which is marked by the unrestrained quest for material success and the flamboyant display of luxury. 

The majority of perpetrators are not apprehended or even identified by law enforcement agencies. There is evidence of police laxity in investigating and prosecuting cases of ritual pedicide in Ghana. 

The study, entitled ‘The Superstition that Dismembers the African Child: An Exploration of the Scale and Features of Juju-Driven Paedicide in Ghana’, makes a significant contribution to the body of knowledge. It is highly significant as it breaks new ground and provides a foundation for further informed engagement with the ritual paedicide phenomenon in Africa. 

The full study (a 42-page article) has been published (open access) in volume 60 issue 1 of the ‘International Annals of Criminology’ by Cambridge University Press. It could be accessed in both HTML and PDF formats at: https://doi.org/10.1017/cri.2022.2

Source: Over 16 ritual murders occur in Ghana each year, a recent study shows

Ghana: traditional leaders condemn rise in ritual murder cases in Sefwi Bekwai area

I’ve been doing research on ritual killings in African countries for many years. Yet, it still happens that I am surprised even flabbergasted by the new information I still find. One such experiences happened when reading the article presented below.

Reportedly, the Sefwi Bekwai area in Ghana is notorious for its ritual murders. The traditional leaders who recently spoke out against the rise in murders in their region notably the increase in ritual murders are to be commended for their public outcry. They referred to more than one ritual murder case in the past, one of these cases being the ritual murder of Kofi Kyinto by his uncle, Benjamin Affi, in the 1980s. The small boy was murdered by contract kiilers who had been instructed by Nana Akwasi Agyei of Akaasu.

I will soon provide more details about this notorious ritual murder case as well as others in the region.
(webmaster FVDK)

Screenshot. To listen to this article (13:34 minutes), please click here
Krontihene and Acting President of Sefwi Bekwai Traditional Council, Chief of Sefwi Humjibre,
Nana Kwadwo Twum II

Published: August 9, 2022
By: Solomon Ofori – Myjoyonline – Ghana

Chiefs at Sefwi Bekwai have condemned a recent rise in murder cases in the entire traditional area.

According to Nananom, the recent murder cases have brought shame to the people and rekindled the unfortunate and undesirable stigma of a ‘Ritual Murder’ community.

The chiefs’ worry comes on the heels of some recent incidents including the killing of a 27-year-old woman, Martha Tetteh, a Linguist who was shot dead at Sefwi Proso among other bizarre killings.

The Sefwi area unfortunately had infamously gained notoriety in the 1980s for consistently recording mysterious deaths led by the popular Kofi Kyinto ritual murder.

Krontihene and Acting President of Sefwi Bekwai Traditional Council, Chief of Sefwi Humjibre, Nana Kwadwo Twum II, in a statement said the traditional leaders do not want such tags to continue.

Below is the full statement:

Below is the full statement:

Traditional leaders condemn rise in murder cases in Sefwi Bekwai area
Traditional leaders condemn rise in murder cases in Sefwi Bekwai area
Traditional leaders condemn rise in murder cases in Sefwi Bekwai area

(RESEC ) under the leadership of then Honourable Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu as Regional Minister and Member of Parliament for our constituency, Bibiani Anhwiaso Bekwai and the Municipal Security Council (MUSEC) under the authority of Honourable Alfred Amoah (late) immediate past Municipal Chief Executive, and therefore they could make a BENKUMHENE in an Akan society such as ours install no mean a chief than OMANHENE, and still, we have people supporting this? We found nothing wrong with that abominable act, we sang their praises to the high places, and they did that with sheer bravado, we were told. Have we bothered to find out how they could formulate a litany of charges against me as the Acting president and without giving me any opportunity to defend myself, they came out with a captioned, ‘VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE’, which was subsequently endorsed by all the bodies mentioned above as supporting them? They even said, by that, they had removed me from office as KRONTIHENE of the traditional area, these were not child’s play. All of these have gone on and one expects our just God and the spirits of the land to be happy? Only time and real-time will tell.

 “The further a society drifts from the truth; the more it will hate those that speak it” George Orwell would put it. Of course, if people get blinded and are influenced by their personal interests as against a group interest, they end up seeing things the way they would otherwise want them to be, and not as they are supposed to be, the case of the chieftaincy dispute at Sefwi Bekwai. However, no one bribes nature not to let them face the repercussions of their wrongful acts.

One may look at it this way, assuming the installation on 18th November 2018, was faulty as they claimed, the best option available to Nananom if they cared for the peace and good of our land and people, was to have challenged it at the appropriate forum; and it was never the calling for National Security to come and impose a certain individual on us as Omanhene, I stand to be corrected, they might have stood on one of our numerous laws to do that untoward act, and since I’m not a lawyer, I may not know.

Worst of all, in order to get a majority of four (4) out of the seven (7) kingmakers as our custom requires, the Regional House of Chiefs without listening to our side would authorize Benkumhene to install both Adontenhene (though I had already done that in my capacity as Krontihene) and Akwamuhene within a month and would go behind the existing Kyidomhene to appoint a brother of his who is maimed in the hand (having some fingers chopped off) and therefore, not qualified to come to the palace in the first place as per custom, let alone stand in as Kyidomhene. To all those who care for the truth, this is how far those Nananom and their supporters who claim to love Sefwi Bekwai more than anybody else, could throw our Omanhene stool to the lowest ebb ever and to the swine in their unflinching burning desire and uncustomary quest to also install someone as Omanhene. If you could wickedly do this unacceptable thing to your stool, could the people trust you for anything good, should what we are hearing and experiencing be strange? Could the Almighty God and the Spirits be blamed?

Is it not strange if after all of these, they turn round to point accusing fingers at some of us, albeit, we do not love Sefwi Bekwai?

Today, the truth is gradually getting out of the bag, and in due course, all would know who loves Sefwi Bekwai the more!

When we came out to challenge their illegal and abortive installation, almost the individuals who were madly involved in that sacrilegious installation including bodies we suspected to have had their hand tainted in the matter, came out with the speed of thunder to deny their involvement, rather vehemently. Thank God, that the truth could not be covered forever. In recent circulating audio, an individual who claims to be a member of Nana Ahene Mmra’s (late) family indicates and confirms our position that the Regional House of Chiefs ordered MUSEC, to collaborate with the other side to select a candidate of their choice and get him installed with the backing of the RESEC and National Security – A Regional House mandating MUSEC to select a candidate as Omanhene. And people who claim to know everything are proud to be assigned with such installation? Only at SEFWI BEKWAI!

The names of the individuals and bodies and roles they played are loud and clear in the said audio. Yet they had denied only to be exposed in the audio. They treat us this bad way and would want to take and swallow that bitterness down our throats?

Another alarming side to this whole episode is the mention of a pastor and the instrumental role he played in getting the assistance of the National Security on board the illegal installation. If it was true, then, we are not safe! Dangerous precedence it is.

If pastors who claim they have been called by God to do His work could not see the need to meet with us and know our side of the story for peace’s sake, would work their way to get the authorities so easily swayed to let National Security do what they did, then, of course, we are not safe! As Christians, we are told in the Good book, the Holy Bible to make peace with all, especially, pastors, yet a pastor worth his sort could get the rules bent in his favour in support of a relative or a dear one, thinking less of the dire consequences that could lead to, then, where was that God who’s voice directs him? Did he hear the voice of God to do that? l hardly could find words enough to describe that.

We may not have to complain about getting a raw deal from the state apparatus. One may be quick to say that, the authorities only acted on the sieved information they received from the very sources whose information is what they are to act on but what was true was the fact that those sources had an interest in the matter,  and therefore they could be said (authorities) to have been tricked or misinformed. The question however is, should we always listen to a side on a disputed matter like ours?

What about the numerous petitions we wrote in respect of the earlier installation to various places of authority?

What came of the secular from the Chieftaincy Ministry to let a three-member Committee look into our case before it and; that the second installation should not be allowed by both RESEC AND MUSEC?  – With the orders being flouted with impunity and disdain by the two bodies because there had been some compromises up the hill? Honorable SAMUEL KOFI AHIAVE DZAMESI, former Minister for Chieftaincy and Cultural Affairs, may the Lord bless you wherever you are.

And what about we appearing before the National Security Minister, Honourable Albert Kan Dapaah, to tell him our side of the story some two or three days to the second installation, only for him to tell us in the face that the ORDERS had already been given and his office could do nothing about it. His only advice was, “Nananom, Onyame na osi ohene, se eye mo dea a, mo nsa beka”, to wit if God says it is our candidate who is to be on the stool, their subsequent installation could not stop that.

In the face of these abuses, provocations, and injustices, we have never resorted to any foul means to get justice, as the system keeps delaying us justice by not getting the Judicial Committee of the Western North Regional House of Chiefs ready to consider our cases filed before it against the second installation since July 2019 (the four kingmakers and the principal elders of Ekona Royal Family of Sukusuku).

One may be hated for speaking the truth, as Plato would say. It is the hard truth as this which needs to be told at all times. The Bible tells us in John 8: 32, that we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.

How beautiful it would be if together we protect our cultural heritage given to us by Nananom. Sefwi Bekwai has a unique culture and tradition to which our energies ought to be channeled to their development and promotion rather than allowing others who might not be well able to appreciate our culture, do as they presume, with all due respect.

Nananom, is it not our duty to ensure that the tenets of our culture are well organized so that we do not lose touch with it as trustees as we hand them over to the youth and generations yet unborn in due course and in their pure and natural states, not as adulterated as would undermine our integrity as traditional leaders as has been so done with the so-called second installation.

Was it not beautiful when in the process of the second installation, our Queen-mother, Nana Abena Aninwaah II sent drinks to me through a delegation, inviting me as Krontihene to undertake the said installation as our tradition provides?

I gave them a simple response that since I had already installed the Omanhene with the help of the other kingmakers, the second one could not be possible. But they would not accept nor respect that, because they had the support of National Security. They, therefore, went ahead to do the unimaginable, the effect of it we are facing today. This gives credence to the age-long saying that “You cannot eat your cake and have it”. If we decide to throw our tradition and culture to the dogs, we cannot turn around to get the support of the spirits for anything good. Nana Kwame Ampadu I of blessed memory would sum it up in one of his songs: “Ammanere yentoto n’ase, na yeso mu yie”.  If we believe that our forebears gave what we have to us through various generations what they received from the creator, then of course we cannot disregard what God and the spirits have put down and has been sustained over the years by others for our good and that of those who come after us; and still expect their blessings and guidance in times such as these.

” Nea ese se yede to no, se yeamfa anto ho a, efiri to” It is time we got all the wrongs righted.

Again, irrespective of our current differences, we could still work in diverse ways in collaboration with the security agencies in ensuring that all those who played various roles in the ritual murder are made to face the full rigours of the law in a manner that will deter any such distasteful, preposterous and inhuman acts in the future. This is not beyond us.

It is also my humble prayer to the good people of Sefwi Bekwai to support authorities in this fight to get to the bottom of the matter by giving out any information whatsoever we may have in respect of the case to ensure that a lasting solution is found so that our security could be guaranteed. It may also go a long way in restoring our dented image as a people.

Finally, I will seize the opportunity to make a passionate appeal to His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo – Addo to use his good offices to ensure that the chieftaincy dispute at Sefwi Bekwai is resolved by directing the appropriate bodies to get lawyers to the newly created Regional Houses of Chiefs, such as the Western North Region.

In 2017, the President gave assurance to Ghanaians that his government would not meddle in issues bothering chieftaincy. The President said this when the Bawku Baana Asigri Abugrago Azarka II and his chiefs called on him at the Jubilee House.

Again, somewhere in April this year, the President was on record to have expressed his unhappiness on the numerous chieftaincy disputes across the country. This he said exacts a heavy toll on the public purse and therefore must be avoided where necessary.

The President, His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akufo – Addo is noted for finding lasting solutions to protracted chieftaincy disputes – Yendi where he was conferred with the title, ” Naa Abudani I” and Ga states come to mind.

If those were possible, the case of Sefwi Bekwai is also possible, most especially, having promised the people of creating a District in honor of our late Omanhene, Odeneho Gyapong Ababio at his funeral at the Sefwi Bekwai Palace, back in 2016.

It is the humble prayer of Nananom that the President would not leave office without fulfilling that promise and also ensuring justice or reconciliation as far as our chieftaincy dispute is concerned. Counting on you, Mr. President.

Signed

Nana Kwadwo Twum II,

Krontihene and Acting President, Sefwi Bekwai Traditional Council; Chief of Sefwi HumjibreTel: 024- 7573571

Source: Traditional leaders condemn rise in murder cases in Sefwi Bekwai area

Ghana: case of businessman in alleged ritual murder sent to Attorney General for advice

First of all, the suspect, Oppong Kyekyeku, is facing a charge of preparation to commit a crime. Allegedly, the accused when facing financial difficulties consulted a spiritualist and agreed to offer his 11- year old daughter for a ritual. What struck me beyond the assumed superstition and the gruesome murder inevitably linked to the ritual is the fact that the suspect has been living in the Netherlands for many years before he relocated to Ghana a year ago.

Seemingly ‘normal people’ are capable of committing gruesome murders. It’s a known fact, but when again confronted with this reality, I find it quite shocking.
(webmaster FVDK)

Case of businessman in alleged ritual murder sent to Attorney General for advice

Published: July 19, 2022
By: Modern Ghana

The case of Evans Oppong Kyekyeku who is accused of attempting to use his daughter for ritual purposes has been sent to the Attorney General ‘s Office for advice.

When the matter was called today, Monday July 18, 2022, before Ms Ama Adomako Kwakye, Chief Inspector Lawrence Kofi Anane, who held a brief of Chief Inspector Richard Amoah, prayed for a date as a duplicate docket had been sent to the Attorney General.  

Defence Counsel said he had followed up at the AG Office adding that the State was finding it difficult to advise on his client’s case as there was no evidence against him (Oppong Kyekyeku). 

The Court, therefore, adjourned the matter to August 1 and remanded Oppong Kyekyeku into Police custody. 

Oppong Kyekyeku is facing a charge of preparation to commit crime to wit, murder. 

The accused’s plea has been preserved by the Court. 

The fact of the prosecution is that Kyekyeku is the father of the victim aged 11 years and he has been living in Holland for many years but relocated to Ghana a year ago. 

In the month of May this year, Oppong Kyekyeku allegedly told a friend known as Kwame that he was facing financial difficulty and consulted a spiritualist. 

The accused allegedly agreed to present his daughter for the ritual. 

He was, however, picked up after he had allegedly managed to send the daughter for the ritual at Oyibi Kom in Accra. 

GNA

Source: Case of businessman in alleged ritual murder sent to Attorney General for advice