Minister for National Unity Timothy Mtambo has called for stiffer punishments for those who perpetrate violence against the elderly or calling them witches.
Speaking in Mzimba today where he was guest of honour at a workshop organized by NICE Trust which draws funding from the EU and Ministry of National Unity and Civic Education, Mtambo said the horrifying news, pictures and videos of the two elderly women recently accused of witchcraft in Mzimba challenges the entire nation to rethink the country’s laws on mob violence and accusations of witchcraft.
He added that a nation that burries itself in unfounded beliefs, suspicions, perceptions and fears of the unknown fails to develop.
He then called for the promotion of evidence based practices and science education in order to achieve the Mw2063.
“What is more horrifying is that such mob violence and mob justice occurs right in the presence of our community leaders, the clergy, CSOs and close relatives of the accused. The Police cannot be in every village to protect the rights of the most vulnerable of our population, especially the elderly. It is the duty of all of us.
“Civilization is a method of living, an attitude of equal respect and value for all men,” said Mtambo.
He added: “As a society Malawi must keep changing and refining its beliefs and perceptions, especially those concerning the elderly and the situations that challenge our thinking in order to keep improving our way of living.”
He went on to say that most times failure to explain mysterious sicknesses and deaths is a sign of lagging behind in medicine and health sciences as a nation on the one hand, and lack of respect for rights of every human being on the other.
“These mysterious deaths and sicknesses have sadly usually been blamed on either the elderly and most vulnerable of our societies, or the rich whose wealth we fail to accommodate,” said Mtambo.
The minister therefore called on the CSOs for a robust civic education programming to re-educate the citizenry, and the review of the Education curricular to remove what promotes wrong perceptions and beliefs against the elderly.
He also called for a review of Malawi’s laws that promote the evil of mob justice or mob violence, especially against the elderly.
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