2024-07-13

MANEPO calls for the arrest and Prosecution of people involved in harrasing elderly women in Mzimba

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The Malawi Network for Older Persons Organisations (MANEPO) has condemned the recent harassment of two older women in Mzimba district over witchcraft allegations and has demanded the arrest and Prosecution of the culprits.

On Saturday, Two elderly women were forced to bury a dead person on their own while one of the women fell into the grave after being badly beaten on allegations of witchcraft in the area of Inkosi Kampingo Sibande in Mzimba.A video shared on social media show the women being forced to fill the pit after a coffin was lowered into it. The work is usually done by a group of young men.

In reaction to the development, MANEPO said unbecoming for one, let alone older persons, to live under a cloud of suspicion. They added that the era when one could do what it pleases, without being restrained by the muscle of the law has passed, hence calls for the arrest of the culprits.

“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.

Accused victims

“Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates that no one shall
be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. More so, His Excellency Dr. Lazarus Chakwera recently signed the African Union Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa which calls 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 toveffectively interpret and enforce policies and legislation to protect the rights of older persons.

“The Malawi’s Witchcraft Act of 1911 doesn’t recognise existence of witchcraft and
states that it is an offence to accuse anyone of practising witchcraft. The 2016 National Policy for Older Persons recognises 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,” reads part of the statement signed by Andrew Kavalo.

MANEPO, therefore, calls upon the Malawi Police Service (MPS) in Mzimba District to arrest the people involved in this wrong doing.

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