Malawi lawmakers persuaded to review punishment of men who sleep with women magically

Mzuzu First Grade Magistrate has urged Members of Parliament to revisit the penalty given to persons who are found guilty of sleeping with other people through magic if communities are to be safe from such malpractices.

First Grade Magistrate Cuthbert Phiri made the appeal on Wednesday when he presided over a case involving a 27 year old Mike Chisale, a bicycle taxi operator in the city who was found guilty of entering a house with intent to commit a felony.

Phiri said the current maximum seven- year custodial sentence given to those found guilty of the charge is less punitive considering the gravity of the vice.

“I would like to appeal to our Members of Parliament to seriously consider revising this penalty to at least 20 years imprisonment with hard labour, especially if the offender committed the offence intentionally or planned it,” Phiri said.justice

In reference to Chisale’s case in which he was being accused of entering a house (owner’s name withheld) on the night of 20/21 April this year (2013) with an intent to magically have sex with females, Police Prosecutor Keston Chiona said the accused planned to commit the offence on grounds that he had revealed that he twice visited a witch doctor who gave him charms to use to achieve his mission.

“The law stipulates that any planned offence should carry a stiffer penalty to the convict, hence Chisale deserves unique sentence so that it should serve as a warning to would be offenders of the same offence,” explained Chiona.

In mitigation, the suspect, who earlier (day before), had collapsed in the dock after the magistrate just convicted him of the charge, pleaded with the Magistrate to consider giving him a shorter sentence because he was responsible for his two kids.

Chisale further said he was suffering from abdominal pains because of the charms that were administered to him by the witch doctor which had disabled him from visiting the toilet for two days.

Imposing the sentence, Magistrate Phiri said he considered balancing between magically entering into the house and the initial charge of entry into the house with intent to commit felony.

“Our constitution is silent on witchcraft, but at the same time it is also silent on how one enters the house. The significant part of the charge is illegal entry into somebody’s house which the convict here did,” explained the Magistrate.

Phiri then concurred with the State witness that the offender deserved a stiffer custodial sentence to ensure that women were protected from such people. He then proceeded to sentence Chisale to six years and six months imprisonment with hard labour.—Malawi News Agency

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