Criminalizing curse (‘Duabo’): Reducing the “Duabo” nuisance on the social media street

It does appear that socialites and people who rain “duabo” can be held criminally liable in one district in Ghana.

Is allowance instantly strangers applauded

Often times our social media has been washed with celebrities and socialities calling on deities to curse people. 

Recently Chairman Wontumi and Afia Schwarzenegger have engaged in a fight of words and allegations that has as far extended to curses, or I’d rather call it ‘Duabo’ in Akan.  Afia in a video was seen performing a curse ritual, calling on the Antoa god to strike her if allegations she made concerning her affair with Chairman Wontumi were untrue.

It does appear that socialites and people who rain “duabo” can be held criminally liable in one district in Ghana.

In the Atwima Kwanwoma District Assembly, it is an offence to curse - invocation of a deity or god, according to section 38 of its by-laws. The law is more concerned with the ‘Act’ and not the effect of the ‘Duabo’ for which one can be liable for fifty penalty units or face six months in prison.

“Any person or persons who the proof shall be on him to have cursed to the gods, river/streams or shrines, etc shall be guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 50 penalty units or in default of payment to imprisonment of a term not exceeding 6 months or to both,” the law says.

In simple terms if you “b) dua” you can be made to pay GHC600.00 and/or be in jail for a period not exceeding 6 months if one is convicted for being involved in the act. 

Is this a step that other district assemblies should follow suit in the light of the increased rate of curses being conducted on social media?

Justifiable or not, is it the case that the state or authorities can pass laws to somewhat inhibit religious freedoms? Because arguments can be raised that by that same process of pouring schnapps, et cetera, (very similar to the act and process of performing ‘duabo’) I am calling on my deity. The case of Malcolm Omirhobo the Nigerian lawyer who appeared before the Supreme Court of Nigeria and the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court dressed as a traditionalist comes to mind. 

It would be interesting to know to what extent the law is being enforced.