Thursday, July 3, 2008
Review Trokosi Law – Research study
Story: WINSTON TAMAKLOE, AKATSI
A RESEARCH study of the practice of Trokosi in Ghana has revealed the need to review the Trokosi law, its implementation mechanism and the role of institutional agencies in abolishing the practice.
It further reveals that although the law came into force in 1998, the practice still persists due to the mistrust in the formal judicial system.
The study therefore called for a review of the law and the need for the strengthening of policy programmes and intervention in the liberation and the rehabilitation to be accelerated to ensure total elimination of the practice.
These were made known at a stakeholders’ dissemination workshop on the abolishing of the Trokosi practice at the weekend at Akatsi.
It was organized by International Needs, Ghana (INNETWORK), a non profit organization, which is facilitating the release of deprived and most vulnerable rural and unban poor from spiritual, cultural, economic and social bondage in collaboration with Stratcomm, Ghana, a communication organization.
The workshops were held in three towns in the Volta Region namely South and North Tongu and the Akatsi districts.
The workshops were aimed at sharing the findings of the research by INNETWORK with other stakeholders in the three districts where the practice is still persisting 10 years after the passage of the law abolishing the practice, and collectively determine the way forward to completely eradicate it.
The study called for the strengthening of the position and roles of traditional authorities to be motivated as custodians of culture to impress upon heads of shrines to abolish the practice.
It stressed the need to abolish or to modernize and transform the communities affected by the practice as these communities are plagued by poverty, illiteracy, fear and lack of education and the need for extra support and assistance for the people to become independent.
A senior lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, S.K. Kufogbe, noted that before the law was enacted, there was as total of 278 Trokosi shrines in North Tongu, Ketu, Akatsi, Keta, Dangme East and West districts.
He said after the enactment, NGOs rushed to the various shrines to persuade and negotiate with the head priests to release the inmates. He explained that some of the priests agreed but others refused and went underground with the practice.
Mr Kufogbe recommended that the government and other stakeholders in the fight to abolish the practice to form effective network, the strengthening of advocacy and education to eliminate the practice.
Ms Gillian Heathcote, Communication Director of Stratcomm, acknowledged that the culture is dynamic and that it is either the practice is modernized or abolished and attributed the persistence of the practice to lack of arrests and prosecution of shrine heads in spite of the law.
She urged NGOs focusing on the liberation of the Trokosi to “provide comprehensive package to the victims so that they did not become beggars but partners in the transformation”.
The Ghanaian Times Thursday, July 3, 2008 Page: 25