In the bustling corridors of Ghana’s Parliament, a name that resonates with courage, compassion, and unwavering commitment to justice echoes through the chambers—Xavier Sosu. The Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina Constituency, Xavier Sosu, has somewhat emerged as a beacon of hope for progressive change in Ghana, championing numerous initiatives to advance human rights and social justice.
His tireless efforts range from abolishing the death penalty to criminalising witchcraft accusations, promoting disability employment, and advocating for the removal of the VAT on menstrual products. Xavier Sosu’s dedication to these vital causes transforms Ghanaian society’s landscape and sets an example for legislators worldwide.
Abolishing the Death Penalty: A Moral Imperative
One of the defining missions of Xavier Sosu’s political career has been the abolition of the death penalty in Ghana, after a sponsored bill by the legislator in 2021. Ghana is among the few African countries that still until recently, retain the death penalty, despite international human rights organizations, notably, amnesty international and activists calling for its end. Sosu’s passionate advocacy against capital punishment is rooted in the belief that no society should endorse a practice that is fundamentally flawed and inhumane.
Sosu’s argument is multi-faceted. He points to the risk of wrongful convictions, the lack of empirical evidence supporting the death penalty’s deterrence effect, and the moral and ethical implications of taking a life as reasons to abandon this outdated practice. His efforts in Parliament have not only ignited a critical public discourse but have also paved the way for legislative changes that has seen Ghana join the growing global trend of countries to abolish the death penalty. In July of 2023, the parliament of Ghana amended the Criminal Offences Act 2022 to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment – a feat that’s been widely celebrated.
Criminalizing Witchcraft Accusations: Protecting Vulnerable Communities
Another monumental undertaking by Xavier Sosu is the push to criminalize witchcraft accusations and camps in Ghana. Witchcraft accusations have long plagued Ghanaian society, disproportionately affecting women, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups. These baseless accusations have often resulted in physical violence, social ostracization, and even death for those accused. Ghana is part of the few places with existing witch camps scattered across its regions.
Sosu’s sponsored bill aims to provide legal protection to those accused of witchcraft and to hold accountable those who make false allegations. By criminalizing such accusations, he hopes to not only protect the rights and dignity of individuals but also challenge deeply ingrained superstitions that perpetuate this harmful practice. Sosu’s commitment to this cause highlights his dedication to upholding the rights and dignity of every Ghanaian citizen. The criminal amendment bill has altered the criminal offences Act, 1960(Act 29) and prohibited the practice.
Promoting Disability Employment: A Path to Inclusion
Xavier Sosu’s advocacy extends to one of the most marginalized groups in Ghana—persons with disabilities. He has taken the lead in introducing a bill that mandates a 5% employment quota for persons with disabilities across various sectors of the economy. This groundbreaking initiative is a significant step towards dismantling barriers that have hindered the full participation of people with disabilities in Ghana’s workforce.
Data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) shows that 8% of Ghana’s population representing some 2.4million persons have some form of disability as compared to 3% in 2010. There’s therefore an imperative need to deliberately attempt to foster inclusivity.
Sosu firmly believes that a society’s progress can be measured by its inclusivity and accessibility for all, and his bill reflects this vision. By championing the rights of persons with disabilities and pushing for equal employment opportunities, he is not only changing the lives of countless individuals but also setting a precedent for social equity in Ghana.
Removing VAT on Menstrual Products: Ending Period Poverty
In yet another remarkable move, Xavier Sosu has recently presented a private member bill to Parliament proposing an amendment to remove the 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) on menstrual products. This initiative directly addresses the issue of period poverty that affects many women and girls in Ghana.
Period poverty is a pervasive issue that can lead to girls missing school and women facing financial hardships. Sosu’s bill recognizes that access to menstrual products is a matter of dignity and gender equality. Removing the VAT on these products is a significant step towards ensuring that every woman and girl in Ghana can manage their periods with dignity and without economic constraints.
The Importance of Leading the Way
Xavier Sosu’s works in Ghana’s Parliament is a testament to the power of principled advocacy and the impact a single dedicated individual can have on a nation’s trajectory. His commitment to justice, equality, and human rights sets a standard that every legislator should aspire to meet. By championing the abolition of the death penalty, criminalizing witchcraft accusations, promoting disability employment, and advocating for menstrual product affordability, Sosu is shaping a more just and equitable Ghana.
In a hung parliament where most MPs are occupied with politics, Sosu’s work transcends partisan lines, earning him praise and admiration from colleagues, activists, and the public alike. His vision for Ghana is one where every citizen is treated with fairness and dignity, where superstitions give way to reason, where disability is not a barrier to success, and where menstrual hygiene is a right, not a privilege.
The first time MP, has institutionalized legislative work and found a niche in advocacy and selflessness. His streak of candor, bravery and mediation appear to be a long-standing trait. He recounted a case, where he went against all odds to defend a mentally challenged man who was accused of a failed assassination attempt on the sitting president, Mahama. Despite calls to persuade and deter him from representing the accuse, he still went further to get a sitting judge to squash the sentence handed over to the accused.
In Xavier Sosu, Ghana has found a true legislator—one who is not afraid to challenge the status quo, fight for the vulnerable, and tirelessly advocate for justice. As he continues to lead the way in these critical initiatives, Xavier Sosu is not only transforming the outlook of Ghana’s parliament but inspiring the world with the power of conviction, compassion, and unwavering dedication to a better, more inclusive future for all.