MANEPO condemns ill-treatment of elderly women in Mzimba

Mob assault Older women accused of witchcraft in Mzimba, Malawi

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

On Saturday, the 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.

In reaction to the development,  MANEPO said it is unbecoming for one, let  alone older persons, to live under a cloud of suspicion.

The organisation 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.

“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 to effectively interpret and enforce policies and legislation to protect the rights of older persons.

“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 has therefore called upon the Malawi Police Service (MPS) in Mzimba District to arrest the people involved in the abuse of the elderly women.

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