November 23, 2020

MANEPO Demands Speedy Revision of Witchcraft Act

The Malawi Network of Older Persons’ Organization [MANEPO], has called upon the Malawi Police Service [MPS] to immediately arrest and speed up prosecution of those involved in   stoning an innocent older woman to death on witchcraft allegations in Dedza district.

MANEPO has condemned in strongest terms, the recent gruesome murder of an old woman at Fumbwa village in the area of Traditional Authority Tambala in the district.

The organization has since demanded the speedy revision of the Witchcraft Act, in particular, repeal Section 6 aimed at preventing further discrimination, abuse and violation against innocent older men and women accused of practicing Witchcraft, saying it is expecting Government to demonstrate political will by guaranteeing the safety and protection of the elderly in this country.

Elderly people are a treasure to the country’s social activities

This is contained in the statement signed by Andrew Kavala   for the Malawi Police Service [MPS] to arrest and prosecute every person involved in the barbaric and heinous act, of an innocent order woman in Dedza dated 20th October, 2020.

In the statement, MANEPO has condemned in strongest terms the stoning to death of an innocent older woman in the district on baseless witchcraft accusations.

MANEPO is reminding all Malawians that it is very unbecoming for one, let alone older persons to live under a cloud of suspicion, saying they passed the era when one could do what it pleases without being restrained by the muscle of the law.

Standing up for the rights of the elderly is everyone’s responsibility

The organization says it is imperative that everyone should use proper channels to address concerns, for one cannot concurrently play the roles of an accuser, prosecutor and judge, saying Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates that no one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishments.

……’’More recently, Malawi adopted African Union Protocol to the African Charter  on Human and People’s Rights of Older Persons in Africa,’’…..reads the statement in part.

MANEPO has called for each African state to be responsible for developing and reviewing existing legislation to ensure older persons receive equal treatment and protection  and ensure that law enforcement officers at all levels are trained to effectively interpret and enforce policies and legislation to protect the rights of older persons .The statement says the Malawi Witchcraft Act of 2011 does not recognize existence of witchcraft and states that it is an offence to accuse any one of practicing witchcraft saying the 2016 National policy for Older Persons recognizes the duty of the state to protect the rights of older persons in a country grappling with changes in traditional family values and the erosion of social support structures.

By Vincent Gunde

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