A superstitious belief being held by the indigenous people of Tamale and the Northern Region at large about twins, triplets and quadruplets, The Chronicle can say- requires some high level of intervention form government and other human right advocates or organizations.
The outmoded cultural practice, which has been branded as orders form the gods, is not only wiping off the wish or desire of parents to give birth to twins, but also serving as a catalyst for the abuse of the rights of such babies.
To give birth to twins or triplets in the Northern Region is believed to be a ‘’curse’ ’rather than a ‘’blessing’’.
Per the alleged traditional belief of the people; twins, triplets and quadruplets have no place in the homes of their own families as they are considered as ‘’spirit babies or witches’’.
Their birth is widely regarded as ‘’a great misfortune’’ to their parents and families by soothsayers in the region. While some married couples pray zealously and exploit all available means to give birth to twins and triplets in other parts of the world, parents of twins or multiple babies in the Northern Region rather go through tribulations and emotional traumas to ensure that their babies survive, due to a dire traditional or cultural belief being held by the people.
The people hold the widespread but longstanding belief that it is part of their culture and tradition to throw twins or multiple babies onto the streets with their mother to beg for alms for a number of years, to expel any spirit in them and also ensure the survival of the kids.
It is also purported that in some parts of the region, babies including twins and triplets with any form of deformities are executed (killed) after birth, due to the belief that”those kids are strange animals that had transformed into human beings.”
It may be a strange belief to many but the people still practice it. In some communities in Northern Region, especially Bomahe, Savelugu, Kumbungu, Yendi, Tolon, Nanton and Tamale metropolis-twins are nothing but “evil and unwanted babies” by most parents and until the superstitious practice of begging is performed, the lives of the babies are said to be hanging in the balance by those soothsayers.
So in road to ensure their survival, mothers are forced onto the streets and market or public places to engage in broad day light begging. When The Chronicle moved round the Central Business District of Tamale, practically around the Zenith Bank building, it was realized that most of the babies sit with their mothers in tattered clothes and most often, houseflies hover around their moths from the break of dawn till the night falls. They are always at the mercy of the scorching sun and toxic smokes from vehicles and motorbikes.
The kids who are also identified by their unkempt hair and pale looks mostly play around the insanitary places along the streets. Some of the twins are just between a month and two years.
Hawa Abubakar, a 38 year old mother of triplets and a victim told the paper that she never planned to use her babies to beg for alms, but her husband’s family went to consult an Oracle who collected fowls, cola, white cloth and other things and ordered that they must move her and the babies to the road side. “Initially resisted but my husband and his family told me that if I don’t do it and the children die or something happens to the family they will kill me, so I agree. Aside that, I have seen several women being forced to send their kids to beg, therefore I just agreed to it and here I am now.’
However, this so-called cultural practice of the people of Northern Region is gradually receiving some attention from some Non-Governmental organization and individuals who perceive it to be a form of human rights violation.
Currently, One of the newly established NGOs operating in the Northern Region, Kiddy Care Foundation (KiC Foundation), told The Chronicle it is leading a massive crusade to eliminate or discourage the practice. At an End of Year Party organized for over 140 mothers of twins and their babies in Tamale by the KiC Foundation, which was also meant to bring some stakeholders together to discuss the myths surrounding the practice, the paramount Chief of Tamale, Naa Dakpema Alhassan Dawuni threw his weight behind KiC Foundation in its quest to discourage parents and families from parading their twins babies to beg for alms on the streets.
The Chief of Tamale, in a speech read for him by his Spokesperson, Naa Abass Salifu stated emphatically that the longstanding practice was never part of the culture or tradition of the people of the region.
He said the people in the region had been forced to buy into that myth or superstition by some “hungry and unscrupulous soothsayers” for their own selfish interest.
Naa Dakpema noted that most of the parents of twins were also on the streets to beg as a result of their impoverishment. He questioned why rich people or people of high repute did not lien up on the streets to beg for their multiple babies, if indeed such was a true culture or tradition of the people.
Notwithstanding, the Tamale Chief warned communities and parent within the Tamale Metropolis to desist from such practice and accept their parental responsibilities for the children.
Source: The Chronicle
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