A nation polarized by religion and superstition

This is an introspection, as I sit back in my track and reflect on the recent happenings in the country, precisely the incident involving the alleged murder of an elderly woman accused of witchcraft in Nalerigu in the Northern region attributed to superstition.

The deceased, identified as Mma Rukaya, moved to the area from Janga, in the same region because of similar accusations. A society that would hide behind everything including religion and superstition to do whatever it takes even to take the life of another.

Not forgetting the sad story of Madam Akua Denteh and the subsequent mob injustice metered by another as a result of alleged ‘witchcraft’ at ‘Gonja’ in the Northern part of the country still rings a bell. This may strike you like an uncomfortable quest but the question still lingers in my mind; why would a well-behaved human take away the life of another because of beliefs? A said superstitious belief that’s beyond logic and reason.

What controls our society and the nation today? Politics or Religion; perhaps, I am more prone and conversant with the latter because that has been the bane and the fabric of our society.

As a child and growing up, like a bait; one cannot skip this necessary initiation if it can be called such but religion runs through all our institutions and beyond. And this makes one ponder; what’s the practical reason for this gross misplaced mental servitude that has wrecked lives, homes, and nations? Indeed, you may not possess all the answers but have you asked yourself why you engage in a dire religious practice?

Look at [some] nations around and it may strike you harder, wars, injustice, and corruption which can be pointed to religious conflict and others. It is sad to note people are been executed because of religious falter. Who has the moral right to judge others?

Last two semesters back in my studies at the university, I met an exchange student from a European country and in a conversation, pointed out how at the turn of every corner in the capital, you are faced with a religious ‘bunker’ with a shout more than the pitch of decibels emanating from such places! I dared not ask why. It seems we are in the crusading years of England, imagine! And that was many years ago! We are behind the age of enlightenment, he said. A bit harsh as it may sound but I couldn’t agree less.

A nation of highly religious people but with questionable gestures and attitudes towards nation-building; talk about politics, the least said the better. We have leaders who hide behind religion, sworn in, albeit in the name of such but leave the nation bereft if that can be said about many of them.

I look forward to that day when the exchange student will come again but to a different narrative; one devoid of the noise and brouhaha of god sent a compliance that favors those who wield power and leave the ordinary back at the pecking order because their voices cannot be heard by a said divine, be it traditional, the Orthodox
or otherwise.

And so, we must rise, and get rid of a certain childhood initiation that does not march our current realities and our modern societal dispensation. Culture calls for change!

The norms must be changed and we must write a narrative that favors common sense, justice, and the dignity of all human lives.

Let’s pull down superstitions that trample on human rights!

By Mac̶ King T. Thompson

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