Malawi Court fines witchdoctor MK20,000

A Magistrate Court in Mzimba district has fined a Witchdoctor MK20,000 or in default serve a 2 year imprisonment with hard labour after convicting him with the offence of charging a person with Witchcraft contrary to section 4 of Witch Craft Act.

The Court has also fined three of the Witchdoctor’s assistance MK8,000 each or in default serve the same period in jail as their master.

The convicts are Witch Doctor Penjani Mazie, 28, his three assistants Elija Zimba, 39 Mujifumbe Saka, 27, and Alick Zimba, 25, all from of Kwalamba village Traditional Authority Mtwalo in the district.

According to court record on September 3, this year the Witchdoctor with three assistants went to the house of Mrs. Victoria Jere, 55, of Fuzani Moyo village Traditional Authority Mmbelwa in Mzimba district where they all blamed and charged her to be a Witch.

That annoyed her and she reported the matter to the police. They were all charged with the offence of Charging a Person with Witch Craft. And they all pleaded guilty.

In his judgement Magistrate observed that cases of charging a person witch craft are on the increase in the district therefore it was imperative for the accused persons to be slapped with stiff punishment in order to deter those would-be offenders.

Meanwhile, Police in Mzimba have asked people in the district to refrain from inviting Witchdoctors to exorcise alleged witches and wizards saying they risk arrest because it is an offence to charge a person with Witchcraft or to employ a Witchdoctor for an exorcising ceremony.

“The unfortunate part is that when the witch doctors identify the alleged witches or wizards, they demand money or sometimes livestock especially cattle as punishment for the alleged victims,” Mzimba Police Station Public Relations Officer Gift Nyirongo said.

Nyirongo also said the practice which is contrary to section 4 of Witch Craft Act has resulted in many people committing suicide and even murder.

However, the Police were unable to give statistics to back their claim.

“In most cases, this happens after village headmen have called the witch doctor into their respective villages to exorcise it. In the end, the alleged witches and their relatives…resort to violence or by punishing the alleged witches by demolishing their houses,” Nyirongo said.

Mzimba district has been grappling with various cases of witchcraft whereby children have always been in the forefront revealing to their parents that they are being taught witchcraft by other people within their villages.

“In most cases, such issues have always been rushed to Police for redress. The most unfortunate fact is that in most cases, village headmen tend to be in the forefront inviting witchdoctors to exorcise people alleged to be practicing witchcraft,” the Police Publicist said.

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