On Friday December 27 2019, a day after those who religiously follow the Christmas tradition unwrapped their gifts, there was some disturbing news shared on various social media networks.
Three elderly people in Lupembe, Karonga were tortured and killed by a mob for being suspected of practising witchcraft. There was a video of the gruesome murder that was hard to watch.
It is believed that a certain group village head summoned the witchdoctor in a bid to exorcise evil spirits from the village.
This is a second known case this year alone, where elderly people have been killed for being suspected of practising witchcraft. Months ago, two men were killed in Neno because they were suspected to have sent a snake that bit a young boy.
There could be more cases that have gone unreported. Oftentimes, the first suspects of witchcraft are always the elderly. Their only crime is to have lived longer than those suspecting them of practising witchcraft. What really drives such barbaric acts is superstition and foolishness.
Malawi is perhaps one of the worst countries to grow old. Most Malawians have no respect for the elderly and to make matters worse, government has little regard for the elderly, no wonder they are being butchered like chickens.
This is what the Ministry of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology should be preoccupied with—educating Malawians that there is no correlation between aging and witchcraft.
The lawless facing this country in recent times can also be attributed to lack of stringent laws that would deter such primitive acts from happening again.
Witchdoctors continue to be the cause for such killings and even the killings of people with albinism. Wouldn’t it be prudent then to ban witchdoctors? What purpose do they serve, apart from bringing confusion and pitting families against each other?
This country does not need soothsayers, it needs people who use their brains to solve problems. The three elderly people that have been killed, (may their souls rest in peace), were not the reasons for the poverty lurking in most parts of Karonga.
It is high time Malawians learnt to vent their anger and frustrations at the right people—those in government whose thievery and corrupt ways are the major reasons most Malawians are in abject poverty. It is quite easy to blame that closest to us for our misfortunes, but we need to look deeper. It is the leaders that are impoverishing us.
It is sad that a group village head, who is supposed to look after his people, was in the forefront of putting them in harm’s way.
I pray that all those involved, from the one who invited the witchdoctor, to the one who pelted the last stone on the lifeless bodies of the three elders, will be arrested and prosecuted.