In their statement, CCJP officials in the Southern African nation also decry the increase in cases of victimization of older women and men.
They say that elderly people, especially those who live in rural areas, continue to be victims of “witchcraft-based violence” and other human rights violations and abuses.
On December 5, two elderly women in Mzimna District were physically assaulted and forced to bury a dead woman. They were accused of bewitching and killing the deceased.
Making reference to the incident, CCJP officials in Malawi say the harassment of the two women is one of the numerous cases of violation and abuse of old people in the country.
They say that it is “worrisome” that the Malawian government is yet to address the cases of victimization of older women and men.
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“There have not been meaningful and genuine efforts to arrest and prosecute individuals who are involved in harassing and victimizing elderly people due to witchcraft accusations,” they say, and add, “Elderly women and men lack adequate protection from community members and the police.”
Because of the relaxed approach to the incidents of victimization, CCJP officials in Malawi say “impunity has been the order of the day as such inhumane treatment of vulnerable adults has been normalized in the rural communities.”
“It is worrisome that cases of witchcraft-based violence and the baseless accusations are perpetrated and orchestrated by traditional leaders, who are supposed to be custodians of culture and carers and protectors of vulnerable groups within the communities,” CCJP officials in Malawi say.
They add that the Malawian government “ought to be the watchdog of traditional leaders to address and discourage such pitiful practices as engagement of witchdoctors for witchcraft cleansing purposes in all corners of Malawi.”
CCJP Coordinators in Malawi call on the government “to take stern action against such traditional and community leaders.”
The government needs to urgently “ensure access to justice for all in order to guarantee that the older generation feels part of the Malawi society,” they say in their December 7 statement.
Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.