By Leo Igwe
The Advocacy for Alleged Witches(AFAW) urges the government of Malawi to declare a state of emergency on witch persecution in the country. This measure has become necessary to enable the country to contain the epidemic of witch-hunting. Witch persecution is ravaging the country on a massive scale. Witch-hunting has occasioned a humanitarian crisis.
It poses a major threat to the lives, health, safety, and well being of people in Malawi. Unfortunately, Malawi has done very little to address this problem. The world continues to turn a blind eye to this tragic situation. A robust national response is urgently needed to contain the witchcraft related devastations and destruction of lives and property.
Advocates in Malawi say that some accusation or persecution of alleged witches takes place in Malawi every day. In most cases, the persecution ends in the extrajudicial killing-lynching, stoning, or beating to death of the alleged witch. This violent campaign leads to the destruction of property, abduction, and disappearance of persons suspected of witchcraft. There is an ongoing war against alleged witches in Malawi. And this war should end -and must end-now. The government cannot continue to look the other way while innocent persons accused of witchcraft are attacked and killed with impunity.
In the past weeks, AFAW has received reports of violent attacks and murder of alleged witches from various districts across Malawi. In one case, an irate mob stoned the alleged witch to death. And in another incident, a mob lynched the accused. In both cases, the victims were accused of causing the death of persons in the communities.
These cases and other incidents of witch-hunting illustrate a failure of the state of Malawi, a reign of chaos, anarchy, and vigilante justice, the inability of the government to protect the citizens and uphold the rule of law. They demonstrate collective insensitivity and national irresponsibility towards the plight of alleged witches. It is time that the government of Malawi put in place extraordinary measures to guarantee the safety and protection of alleged witches. The government must take cogent steps to end witch bloodletting in the country. The world must send a strong message to the government of Malawi that there are consequences for its continued failure to protect the lives and property of alleged witches. The world must let Malawi know that there is a price for its continued refusal to take appropriate actions and end this campaign of violence and human rights abuses. The international community must demonstrate a willingness to tackle this menace. Malawi should declare a state of emergency on the persecution of alleged witches, or be compelled to do so.