A Ghanaian Member of Parliament (MP) has proffered hanging or stoning to death as the best punishment for women who engage in adulterous acts.
“Day in day out in Afghanistan, if you go behind your husband they hang you. So if they add that, we will get very genuine women in families.”
The MP for Daboya/Makarigu in the Northern region, Nelson Abudu Baani proposed this form of punishment while contributing to a debate on a Bill on Interstate Succession.
The Bill has reached its second stage of consideration after it was first introduced in 2009. The committee working on the Bill, the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, has explained that it has spent over two years on the Bill because it touches on very sensitive issues of inheritance in Ghana.
The Bill will replace the Intestate Succession Act, 1985 (PNDC Law 111) when passed. Under the PNDC Law 111, the distribution of the estate of a man who died without a will is determined by the customary law of inheritance of the area from which he hailed, or the type of marriage under which the deceased married.
As a result, a greater chunk of the estate of the deceased was inherited by his customary successor or successors on behalf of the extended family, thereby cheating the female spouse and children of the deceased.
The current Bill wants to rectify that situation by giving more rights to such women with regards to property of their deceased husbands.
The MP is unhappy with the current state of the Bill.
He stated that the Bill in its current form would create confusion in his constituency and other areas in the Northern Region of Ghana,
According to him, the current Interstate Succession law permits a woman who has cheated on her deceased husband to inherit his property — even if the adultery results in a child from another man.
In his view, the current state of the Bill does not favour men.
“I want members at this time to reject it [Bill]. This thing will bring a lot of controversy in my area. Some of these women are ‘alomo jarta’ in their houses so if a woman that I am married to brings me a bastard what is the [punishiment] for those types of women. Unless punishment for women who are not faithful is added, we should not adopt it.”
Nelson Abudu Baani therefore called for the suspension of the Bill for broader consultation before the House tries its passage.
Majority Chief Whip, Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak also expressed the view that the promulgation of the Bill will encourage cohabitation which will create of more problems for families.