Abolish negative African cultural practices – Scholars

By Gifty
Amofa/Grace Princess Tarwo, GNA

Accra, Oct.12, GNA – African scholars, with
background in law and social issues, have called on leaders to help abolish
negative cultural practices.

They said practices such as widowhood rites,
succession laws, Polygamy, “Trokosi (females sent to shrines to atone for
ancestral sins),” among others were against human rights and must be dealt

Dr Ruth Murambadoro of the Centre for
Sexualities, AIDS and Gender-University of Pretoria, South Africa was reacting
to an address delivered by Nana Dr Susubiribi Krobea Asante, Chairman at the
opening of a socio-legal writing workshop in Accra on Thursday.

Dr Muramdadoro said those customary laws
mostly enslaved women and they were violations of human rights but it was time
they were eliminated.

Madam Suzzie Onyeka Oyakhire, lecturer at the
University of Benin City, Nigeria agreed that those practices must be abolished
but added that it should be done with tact so that it would not look like there
was the use of foreign culture to abolish that of the African ones.

The Lecturer stated that there were laws and
even judgements by the Supreme Court to abolish such traditions but all these
had fell on deaf ears.

She called for education and provision of
reasons that appeal to the emotions of the custodians on the need to do away
with the negative ones or parts if that battle could be won.

She said many customs and traditions had lost
the purpose for which they were accepted and followed by the initiators thus,
currently; people are taking advantage of them.

Dr Nana Susubiribi, Chairman of GIALS and
Paramount Chief of Asante-Asokore, in his keynote address, said the society was
reflected in the law and therefore people must rely on the judiciary for the
customary law to be administered.

He called for the return of lands which
belonged to the indigenes but sold to foreigners, adding that land acquired for
public use must be returned to its original owners if not used for the intended

“There is a constitutional provision which
says that if a land is not used for the purpose for which it was acquired then
provisions should be made for the land to be reversed,” he cited.

Nana Susubiribi also called for the
abolishment of death penalties, saying liberal countries had all abolished that

Professor John Harrington, a facilitator
called on participants to learn to live with rejection when their write-ups
were not accepted, adding that they should not let that deter them but be
resilient as that was the only way they would make their work better.

Professor David Kershaw, a facilitator, urged
the writers to structure their works in a way that would appeal to the public,
topics must relate to the subject of journals and topics have to be globally
appealing if they want their works published. 

Cardiff Law and Global Justice as well as its
partners including the Ghana Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (GIALS)
organised it and had participants drawn from Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria,
Zimbabwe and South Africa.

It is one of a series of writing workshops for
socio-legal scholars in the global South and funded by the British Academy.

The session was for the participants to get
feedback from their draft articles from other scholars to improve on their
works and get them published in international journals.

This is to encourage Africans to tell their
own stories to the rest of the world.


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