Malawi ban witchdoctors, Thindwa delighted

Malawi government has banned “witchdoctors” from administering any concoctions with a view to cleansing people of witchcraft, a development which has pleased executive director of the Association of Secular Humanism (ASH) George Thindwa.

The ban is contained in a a circular dated January 11, 2012 signed for by Lawrence D. Makonokaya for the secretary in the Ministry of Local Government.

Capital Hill’s decision comes after Thindwa flied a complaint that innocent people were being harassed.

Thindwa: Witchcraft accusations tend to be settling personal vandetta

“The Ministry has not yet received such complaints from the victims but we believe that what Mr. Thindwa has reported on is really happening,” reads part of the circular sent to all District Commissioners in Malawi.

Thindwa says alleged claims that children are taught witchcraft are just machinations of people who don`t wish the elderly and women well.

“It is also a tool used to settle personal vendettas,” Thindwa said.

He expressed happened that government had responded to his complain.

“I am delighted with the government’s reaction,” Thindwa said.

“ Witchcraft is a belief. While Malawians have the right to believe in it, but they have no right to harm others in the name of witchcraft,” said Thindwa, advancing ASH’s position.

“There is no evidence that witches exist. Accusations grounded on jealousies, crookedness and trickery remain the greatest manifestation of the belief. Recognising witchcraft will lead to legal quagmire.”

Currently, law from the British colonial era makes it illegal to accuse anyone of being a witch or to claim that one practices witchcraft. Malawi Law Commission is now reviewing the law.

However, belief in witches in Malawi is both widespread and impassioned.

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