Mtambo courts chiefs, clergy on ending witchcraft-based violence

The Minister of Civic Education and National Unity Timothy Pagonachi Mtambo has appealed to traditional and religious leaders in the country to collaborate with the government in stamping out witchcraft-based violence and mob justice targeting elderly persons.

Speaking in Neno district today during a civic engagement on witchcraft and mob justice with chiefs and traditional leaders, Mtambo expressed concern that older persons continue suffering violation of their rights through accusations or exorcising them from witchcraft.

“Some of the elderly people have lost their lives and property here in Neno and some parts of the country. As we speak now, some are still homeless due to mob justice melted on them by some of our community members on accusations of witchcraft. This is sad and unfortunate,” he said.

Mtambo: Let’s end witchcraft based violence now

Mtambo observed that such cases have been common in Neno where the elderly people have been hacked to death and their houses torched for being suspected to be wizards and witches.

He cited the brutal murder of four elderly people in Chimbalanga Village in 2016 and two more older persons from Nseula Village in 2019.

Both incidents happened in Traditional Authority Dambe in the district.

“Our traditional and religious leaders, it is unfair and wrong to look at any old person as a witch or a wizard. It is important for us all to know that the country’s laws do not acknowledge the existence of witchcraft in the country. As such, killing of any person on suspicion that he/she is a witch or a wizard is a serious crime whose penalty is death sentence,” stressed Mtambo.

He appealed to traditional and faith leaders to take a leading role in protecting the elderly by educating and sensitizing your subjects and church members, respectively, about the laws that prohibit suspecting any individual as witch or a wizard.

The minister reminded them that suspecting anyone as a witch or a wizard is a crime punishable by law.

“Older persons have a right to life. It is, therefore, our responsibility, as leaders, to educate our subjects and church members to respect the rights of older persons. It is also our responsibility to advise our community members to desist from mob justice. Community members should be told that mob justice is a crime punishable by law,” he said.

The chiefs and religious leaders assured the minister of their commitment to collaborating with the government in ending witchcraft-based violence in the district.

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