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God-fearing witches

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Once again, we witnessed another embarrassing episode where some staunch believers in the religion of witchcraft in Mzimba abused elderly women they accused of having killed someone through magic.

Such abuses have become common in our society and it was about time we seriously reconsidered our moral standing as a purported God-fearing nation.

One of the biggest problems in our society is hypocrisy. Most people here love to pretend that they are better than they actually are and this has seen us failing on many levels.

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Our biggest lie, of course, is that we love and fear God when the opposite is true. We are talking about a country characterised by rampant corruption, promiscuity and envy, and yet its people pretend to be holy.

It is that pretence at holiness that makes us fail to face our ugly reality and do something about it.

The belief in witchcraft, which has seen elderly people abused in this country, is something that we seriously needed to reconsider.

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We are all born and raised amidst beliefs and prejudices, but these are things that we need to critically reconsider as we come of age.

Unfortunately, in our country, we take the opposite route. Just a few months ago, a special law commission conducted research from where it recommended that witchcraft should be recognised on the premise that a lot of people believe in it.

This was such a low point in the law of the land. How could people who apparently boast of high levels of knowledge argue that something is real because there is wide belief in it? If this is how the people at the top think, then we should not be surprised when our mothers are being killed on baseless superstitions.

If we were to be rational, it would not take much for someone to understand that witchcraft is what it is – a mere belief. The fact that a lot of people believe in it does not make it real.

If you think about it, this belief has led to a lot of conflicts, hatred and abuses in our societies and there is no good that has come from it.

Families and relationships have been broken because of witchcraft accusations. People have been wrongly accused and killed, yet nobody has come forward to categorically prove accusations of witchcraft.

We, as a country, cannot continue to live in the dark ages when the rest of the world has illuminated lamps for people to see.

The belief in witchcraft has proven to be a bigger problem than we previously imagined. The fact that even State authorities believe in this is making it difficult to desensitise the masses to this vice.

We needed the Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity to come in and do something about this problem.

The cases of older people being abused that we see on television and hear on the radio are just a fraction of the abuse taking place in our communities.

There are even worse victims whose stories have not been broadcast but they are suffering on unfounded assumptions of witchcraft.

On its own, old age comes with its challenges, including infirmity of the body, dementia and several other illnesses. It is bad enough that, as poor as we are, we cannot afford care homes for our elderly and, as such, they have been subjected to various forms of abuse.

The government needed to draw deliberate plans for safeguarding lives of the elderly as their vulnerability seems to worsen with each passing day. We cannot go through this life as a notorious generation that hates and abuses those who gave birth to us.

Malawians must wake up and understand that most of the prejudices and superstitions we have are not real. We have lost so much to trivia and we have wasted a lot of time living in bubbles.

We cannot continue to lie to ourselves that we are a God-fearing people when we fail to show kindness to the most vulnerable people among us.

Our State authorities need to reconsider their stance on witchcraft if we are to end the violence against innocent victims of superstition. We cannot continue to live like cave men in this 21st century.

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