Court in Malawi saves alleged Witch from village eviction

The High Court in Mzuzu has restrained Village Headman Green Mwafongo and his Wanyambala (Indunas) from evicting or chasing Winston Sikamba from his home village Donald Village, Traditional Authority Kyungu in Karonga district following allegations that he was killing people in the area through witchcraft.

Judge Dingiswayo Madise also restrained the Village Headman from dealing with Sikamba’s property in any manner until the determination of the substantive matter or until the hearing of the inter parties application of an injunction or until a further order from the court.

“If you disobey this order, you may be found guilty of contempt of court and may be sent to prison or fined or your assets may be seized,” Madise said.

Sikamba through Mzuzu based lawyer Christon Ghambi of CHRAM Associates sought the court’s intervention after the Village Head man threatened to kill him and his family if they did not leave the village.

Ghambi: Lawyer for Sikamba

Ghambi: Lawyer for Sikamba

In his affidavit supporting the application for an order of injunction, Sikamba said between December 2012 and January 2013, there were allegations that people were practicing witchcraft in the village leading to some deaths.

“The Village Head Man and his Indunas convened a meeting and I was held responsible for the witchcraft. They called to the meeting but I did not go. I reported the matter to Police and they informed that they were not concerned with customary issues,” Sikamba said.

He said the Village Headman continued with his death threats also claiming that people in the village did not want me.

“They later forced me out of the village and I sought refuge at Timothy Mwahimba house in another village. I left all mu property including crops in the village,” Sikamba said.

Mwahimba corroborated Sikamba’s story in a separate affidavit seen by Nyasa Times.

Meanwhile the Association for Secular Humanism (ASH)  led by George Thindwa has embarked on a three-year project worth K206, 980, 200 to eradication witchcraft based violence in Malawi.

The main objective of the project is to mitigate violence and other human rights violations faced by children, women and the elderly accused of witchcraft.

ASH is currently implementing the project in eleven districts of Karonga, Rumphi, Mzimba, Kasungu, Dowa, Lilongwe, Mchinji, Machinga, Mulanje, Chikhwawa and Neno.

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