More calls for Witchcraft Act review
By Josephine Chipofya:
Mzuzu Oldies, a non-governmental organisation that promotes rights of the elderly, has asked policymakers to review the Witchcraft Act as one way of safeguarding lives.
For the past 15 years, the Association of Secular Humanists has been calling for a review of the same piece of legislation, with no progress registered.
Malawi Network for Older Persons Organisations has also been advocating changes to the current law, indicating that this would go a long way in safeguarding the rights of elderly people in Malawi.
Just on Friday last week, People’s Federation for National Peace and Development organised a sensitisation meeting in Chileka, Blantyre, where the elderly raised concerns over increased cases of attacks on their person.
And, in the latest development, Mzuzu Oldies Vice Chairperson Prince Mkandawire has added his voice to the calls, saying an amended Witchcraft Act would help the government stem cases of abuse of the elderly, some of whom are physically assaulted and even killed on allegations that they practise witchcraft.
“It is unfortunate that we are still using the Witchcraft Act which came into force in 1911. It is also unfortunate that some youths continue accusing and ill-treating the elderly over witchcraft-related issues. We have to amend the law,” he said.
Group Village Head Kingston Musofi concurred with Mkandawire.
He said traditional leaders needed the support of the law for them to take those found abusing the elderly to book.
He was speaking when Mzuzu Oldies reached out to 20 households with items such as clothes, tablets of soap and edible cooking oil.