The Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Jean Kalirani, has told a news conference that continued cases of attacks against the elderly in communities on allegation of witchcraft are worrying government.
Speaking in Lilongwe to reporters ahead of the commemoration of the 2017 International Day of Older Persons to be held on Wednesday, October 11 2017 in Chitipa District in the Northern Region of Malawi, Kalirani pointed out that the elderly face social exclusion—discrimination and in extreme cases death for being suspected of practicing witchcraft.
She said government will speed up the review of the Witchcraft Act to protect the elderly from all forms of abuse.
“Ageing is not a crime, it is a process of human growth,” she said.
Kalirani condemned attacks against the elderly stressing that the Malawi defines ‘elderly’ as any person who is above 60 years.
Cases of elderly persons killed on allegations of witchcraft are quite common in Malawi despite having a clear law which prohibits anyone from professing to be a witch or wizard or accusing any person of witchcraft.
The current law which is under review was enacted in 1911.
The nearly three-quarters of Malawians who believe in witchcraft see evidence of bewitchment in grave illnesses, inexplicable deaths, and sudden financial ruin. In their eyes, scheming, powerful witches brought about these misfortunes.
Contrarily, international human rights observers consider the suspected witches to be victims rather than aggressors, noting that the accused endure unjustifiable mistreatment, abuse, and ostracism by their communities.
And now villagers are killing some people suspected of being vampires due to widespread belief in witchcraft which perpetuates paranoia over vampirism.
The mob violence over fears of vampires has left at least six dead since mid-September.
Meanwhile, a mentally disturbed man has been killed for being suspected to be a blood sucker in Thyolo.
Thyolo Police Station spokesman Lloyd Maida, the deceased whose identity police could not reveal, was arrested on Wednesday last week in the evening by irate villagers who suspected that was part of the “anamapopa” syndicate.
Maida said upon being questioned when he was found as a night rogue, some people realised that he was mentally unstable while others thought he was pretending and assaulted him to death.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :