In a clear manifestation that witchcraft is real in Malawi, the country’s vice president who is also Minister of Health, Khumbo Kachali on Tuesday while speaking in Parliament pleaded with one of the legislators to ask traditional leaders in her area to convince their subjects to stop bewitching health workers in government institutions.
The vice president made the startling request after the lawmaker Christina Chiwoko (Lilongwe Mapuyu north) asked him to consider providing health personnel at one of the health facilities in her area where she said staff houses were readily available but the facility only operates once a week due to lack of staff.
“The present situation exists because health workers that are posted to Lemwe Health Centre (the concerned health facility) are always subjected to unwelcome and mysterious happenings to them and their families. These acts of witchcraft are the ones that left the Health Centre without resident health workers,” said Kachali in his response.
He added: “Lilongwe DHO has however posted one Medical Assistant to Lemwe Health Centre and I appeal to the Honourable Member to discuss this matter with the traditional leaders surrounding this health centre to advise their subjects to spare the health workers from the witchcraft practices.”
Because of the issues of witchcraft the Lilongwe District Office which oversee the health centre was forced to transfer all health workers and instead opted for weekly outreach clinics.
Chiwoko could be seen fidgeting as the vice President was giving the response a clear sign of the embarrassment that the issue brought to her.
However, in a bid to save her face she promised to take up the task to talk to her traditional leaders on the matter.
Witchcraft is severe in some remote rural areas of Malawi where some government staff members fail to take up posts due to fear of being bewitched or plunging their families into the lion’s den of the practice.