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Granny banished out of village, struggling

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Christina Mphande, 77, who was harassed early this month for being suspected of bewitching her daughter in-law at Mandala Zimba Village in Traditional Authority Kampingo Sibande in Mzimba District is struggling with life.

Mphande was slapped in the face at the funeral ceremony of her daughter-in-law, kicked into an open grave and forced to bury her daughter-in-law.

She was suspected to have been responsible for her death.

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After the burial ceremony people chased her out of the village.

We travelled 60 kilometres from Mzuzu to Eswazini area where she is living in hiding with her brother from another family.

Explaining about her life now, Mphande said she feels “not worthy to be in the world”. She said she has been in pain since the assault.

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“I don’t sleep at night. I still feel pain on the right side of my face where they beat me and, in the process, removed two teeth. My arms get swollen some days. I am not at peace at all,” she said.

Living in a grass-thatched house, Mphande has no food, clothes, blankets and other basic needs. She depends on her brother.

She lost all her property including goats, chickens and maize among others. She only remembers that one of her goats and some chickens were slaughtered during the funeral without her consent.

She said people said there was no need to keep the livestock as the owner would be in the grave. “I feel like going back to my village but now I fear they will kill me because they don’t want to see me at all,” Mphande said.

Her sister, Maliata Mphande, said the granny is mentally affected and needs medical attention. Her brother said he would want to keep her for long.

But he is also financially struggling. He said chiefs in the area have no problem to have Mphande stay there. “The problem is that I cannot find resources to construct her a house. I am struggling to find food, clothes, blankets and many other basic needs for both her and my family. We wish others supported us,” he said.

Director of Disability and Elderly in the Ministry of Gender Gideon Kachingwe said his office is not aware of the current situation of the granny.

He said the only report he received was that she is in the safe hands of her brother.

“I will send our office back to the village so that we can have updated information on the matter. We are going to see how best we can assist her after we get updated information,” Kachingwe said.

Director of the Church and Society of the Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP, Reverend Mcbowman Mulagha, said Mphande’s current state of life is pathetic.

“We feel constructing a house for her would be better; otherwise she is not settled. She has nothing in her life,” Mulagha said.

The synod has committed to construct the house for her. After the incident early this month, police arrested 20 suspects for assaulting her; 10 were discharged from the case.

Mzimba Police Public Relations Officer, Peter Botha, said the 10 suspects were given bail by court.

Hearing of the case starts in February next year, he said.

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