Traditional Leaders Relegating their Powers to Protect the Elderly - NICE

Traditional leaders relegating their powers - Naphiyo Traditional leaders relegating their powers - Naphiyo - pic by Luka Beston

Civic education players say the elderlies continue to face witchcraft attacks since traditional leaders are relegating their responsibility of protecting the marginalised in the country.

National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust Programmes Officer, Christopher Naphiyo, believes that all the stakeholders at local level such as chiefs, development structures and faith community can stop the witchcraft accusations which he says are based on the ripple effect where communities imitate the abuses elsewhere towards the elderly in their areas.

He said that the vice requires everyone in authority at local level to play a role in defending their rights.

"What may be lacking is that these people have relegated their responsibilities or people do not seem not to respect their authority. These things are happening in their villages," Naphiyo said.

This was said on Friday after a sensitization meeting at Khave in Thyolo where recently community members returned home from the graveyard with a dead body of a man forcing an elderly woman to resurrect it following witchcraft accusations.

Meanwhile, Group Village Headman Kapichi says the vice is continuing in the communities since the law does not punish enough the perpetrators.

On her part, National Unity Principal Secretary, Dr Elizabeth Gomani Chindevu, indicated that government is making a priority civil education to the masses on the laws to realise that getting old is not a crime.

"We are sensitising the masses about the law and the constitution of Malawi which says that everybody has the right to life and that nobody by the law is expected to take someone's life even their own life. When we also go to the bible it also says that murder is a sin," Chindebvu said.

Similar attacks have recently been reported in Phalombe, Mzimba, Nsanje and Dedza.

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