Malawi police hold 4 elderly persons over witchcraft: Phalombe mob wanted to kill them

Four elderly persons in Phalombe are in police custody over allegations that they killed a 21 year old man through magic.

What if all these people paid to view the flying wizard (on roof)?  Pix: (c) Pride Magazine

People viewing  the flying wizard in (on roof) Pix: (c) Pride Magazine of Malawi

Phalombe police station officer in charge William Kadzayekha confirmed the arrest of the four whom he refused to identify, saying they were whisked away after a mob wanted to administer mob justice on them.

This is happening just after a week when another mob killed four elderly people in Neno on allegations that they sent a lightning to kill a 17 year old girl, a move severely condemned by President Peter Mutharika and other civil rights organisations.

Kadzayekha refused to describe the picking of the four in the district as arrest, saying they were in police protected custody after a mob wanted to lynch them to death.

He said well wishers tipped the police that some people were organising to kill the elders accusing them of killing 21 year old Phudzo Mandawala.

The officer in charge said their evidence was from a 16 year old boy who implicated the four. He however said no one has been arrested for the allegations, saying the law enforcers were awaiting direction from the southern region police headquarters on the way forward.

The arrest of the four senior citizens comes the same day police headquarters publicist Nicholas Gombwa issued a statement warning people that  it is illegal to call somebody a witch or call oneself a witch.

The police asked Malawians to respect all elderly people and said the law would take its course against those who harass the elderly in the name of witchcraft.

Malawi Network for Elderly Persons and the Association of Secular Humanism have on Wednesday asked the government to embark on intensive civic education to sensitize people on the witchcraft law.

George Thindwa, the Secular Humanism  association’s executive director said Malawi has a Witchcraft Act dating back to 1911, but it states there is no such thing as witchcraft and makes it a punishable offense even to accuse anyone of being a witch.

Thindwa said the law and its intent are clear, but that does not stop traditional beliefs and fears from inspiring false charges against innocent people, and violent pressure to win so-called confessions.

“What actually happens is that they are forced to confess [by their accusers] because that is the only answer which the community wants to hear from them once they accuse them,” he said.

Kingsley Belo, a witchdoctor in Mbayani Township in Blantyre, asserts not only that witchcraft exists, but that witches have used their powers to kill people.

He says “I would wish if the laws on witchcraft were revisited, and the witchdoctors should be allowed to preside over or be state witnesses on cases involving witchcraft, because the existing laws are in conflict with reality.”  Belo adds, “As witchdoctors we can have evidence that someone has killed another person through witchcraft, but he cannot be taken to court because there is no law against that, which means from he can continue killing other people.”

Thindwa says witchcraft does not exist, and he rejects the notion that witches can fly at night and use their powers to cause harm to others.—Additional reporting by Lameck Masina

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22 thoughts on “Malawi police hold 4 elderly persons over witchcraft: Phalombe mob wanted to kill them”

  1. william says:

    Things or acts that do not exist have no any form of description or in other words,there is no word or term that u can use to describe something that does not exist because it is unknown and can not be guessed upon.How come witchcraft has got a word or term and can be easily explicated.Facts must be told factually and not contorted to achieve certain ulterior motives.Lets protect these people against unlawful mob justice but they must also be taught that killing in any other way is prohibited.Cognitively we should come up with ways to mutually tackle this impediment without favoring one group over another.As long as the perpetually dishonestly advocates this ploy against the existence of witchcraft,the attempts to admonish the public against such misconception as they proclaim will bear no fruits

  2. william says:

    witchcraft or no witchcraft i don’t care but how do u analyse this hypothesis?,”people found naked and seated on weaved baskets on the roof of another person’s house”.

  3. Funzo says:

    Did the bishop not accuse some elderly of being witches therefore breaking the law? He said something like ‘not all elderly are witches’.

  4. Ndaulafika Mkwate says:

    Ngati kuli mfiti number one ndi George Thindwa. This is why amfiti anzake akulephera kumulodza.

  5. Ndaulafika mkwate says:

    Ngati kuli fiti number one ndi George Thindwa. This is why afiti anzake akulephera kumulodza.

  6. Yemweyo says:

    witchcraft is a spiritual thing not a science thing that’s why they fly cause its a magic and are able to kill cause its evil

  7. Witchcraft exist, even in the bible it is said,wizards will never inherent God’s kingdom ( wanyanga sazalowa mu ufumu wa Mulungu)

  8. yakumbuyo says:

    Study science and you will believe kuti afiti kulibe.Mr. Thindwa you will not defeat these Malawian Idiots, its only 10% Malawians who are educated.How can a 16 year old boy prove that these particular elders are witches and make all believe.Kazayeka you have also made big mistake by telling people that you have locked them in the cell for protection, because for these dull people feel that anyone locked, has really committed a crime and these four elders will never live again there .Kachama try to teach your police to use different words when you pick up persons who are suspects of those types of crime.eg apita ku ederly home,kuchipatala ,tawapeleka ku town kumene athu sakamba za ufiti,abusa awatenga etc.Not the words you use among your fellow tribesmen.VUTO LA UKO NDI NJALA&MAPHUNZIRO basitu tawasekera!!!!!!! ali ndi mulandu?

  9. Koma za ufiti zikuchulukilabe,koma nde zafika pena sopano

  10. george says:

    there no witch craft in this world. its all poverty.

    1. Nyani wa ku Mwananyani says:

      Oh, boy. Something has to be done about this, real quick.
      If the government, is serious about putting a dent in the belief of witchcraft, then it should demand every chief (Village and/or Group Village Headperson) to call meetings denouncing the concept of witchcraft. And attendance by a representative of each household should be mandatory.
      And the meetings should be signed off by the Police and Native Authorities … oh, sorry, I meant T.As. This is one time most TA’s would show their worth in this modern Malawi.
      APM, are your listening to the cries of Malawians on this issue? They are begging for serious action; and this could be one of your legacies.
      The whole country is swept up in this unfortunate and archaic “tradition”; and the problem is calling out for national leadership. Not just leadership at district or regional level.

  11. Kingsley says:

    Asileni ozidziwa azikuuzani kuti izi achitadi ndi amfitiwo nde ang’angatu basi.Ine Ndiye ndimakhulupilira kuti umfiti ulipodi.

  12. Kingsman says:

    Chili Kunzako, zikadzawachitikira ku ana awo kapena ku achibale awo zamatsengazi adzavomereza mtsogolomo.

  13. myao says:

    Thindwa atiunikileko za Presidential Jet ili pamwambayi.

  14. Yatuta says:

    Ngati kuli mfiti bwanji osaloza Thindwa ? Anabecha kuti adzamupasa ma miliyoni akamuloza , kuli ziii. Ufiti kulibe ndiponso mulozi ine piano ngati kulidi ufiti.

  15. PAUL MGALA says:

    Dziko ndi anthu ake,

  16. Gift says:

    Thindwa ukukamba kuti kulibe ufiti u must be careful bcz some people there loose brother and sister bcz of this witchcrafit, and please goverment must help us or to make plan to give chance those people they want to kick witchcrafit the must still to do that maybe witch they can afried kulodza anthu.

  17. Madalitso mmangitsa says:

    Chifukwa chani zikuchulukila za ufiti izi? Pakhale chilango chopweteka

  18. Dingaan Phiri says:

    Eeh, Thindwa amasusila dala ncholinga chofuna kuthira anthu anzake mum’punga

  19. nkongoli says:

    Death to witches. No mercy on these stupid idiots.

  20. Thindwa says:

    The Witchcraft Act of 1911 is an archaic and colonial law than the Indecent sexual Act that criminalised sex same. I am asking Banki Muni, Barak Obama, Trapence and Mtambo to lobby for its removal from the laws of Malawi. Acknowledging that witchcraft exist will save the lives of all Malawi aged 70 years and above. African beliefs assume that persons aged 70 years are wizards and witches.

  21. ..... says:

    Thindwa asusa izi kkkkk
    mfiti wamkuluyi amati kulibe ufiti (ncholinga choti azikatam a momasuka)

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