4 February, 2023

20 arrested over Mzimba elderly assault

Assemblies of God Church distances itself from the incident

Police in Mzimba have arrested twenty people suspected to have been involved in the assault of two elderly women accused of practicing witchcraft.

Mzimba Police Station Public Relations Officer Peter Botha has confirmed about the arrest to Capital FM.

The incident happened on Friday at Mandala Village in the area of TA Kampingo Sibande but came to light on Saturday through a video clip that went viral on social media.

In a video clip, the two women are forced to bury a person they are accused of killing through magic and while filling the grave some people are seen kicking one woman who fell inside and lost her two teeth.

The two women were forced to bury a person as punishment for allegedly killing a daughter in-law who was in South Africa, through magic.

Mzimba Police Station Public Relations Officer Peter Botha has confirmed about the arrest to Capital FM.

The suspects of which 18 are males and two women are expected to be charged with unlawful wounding and charging a person with witchcraft.

The incident happened in full view of members of the Malawi Assemblies of God church and traditional leaders.

This has angered the public as the country is observing 16 days of activism against gender based violence.

Andrew Kavala who is the Executive Director of the Malawi Network of Older Persons Organizations-MANEPO Andrew Kavala has condemned in the strongest terms the conduct of both the chiefs and the church who did nothing as the old ladies were being abused.

But while condemning the incident, the Malawi Assemblies of God General Secretary Matilda Matabwa distances the church from claims that they tolerated the act.

“It should be noted once again that the Church did the Committal Service (Mwambo Woika Maliro – Fumbi ku Fumbi) without any challenge or sign of mob-justice. When the Church handed over the Service to Adzukulu, it’s when the Chief of Adzukulu announced that the accused women will do the filling of the grave,” Matabwa said.

Matabwa claims the Pastor, and Church Members, condemned the barbaric act, but their condemnation yielded nothing so they left the cemetery.

However, scenes from the video show women of the church holding wreaths and church songs are heard in the background as the two old women are being abused.

But Matabwa has distanced the church from the barbaric incident.

“Malawi Assemblies of God would like to distance herself from any insinuations and allegations being leveled against us by some members of the general public. We are a Church that values the dignity of human beings regardless of age, gender, and ethnicity,” Matabwa has stressed.

Meanwhile, Inkosi Kampingo Sibande a Traditional Authority-TA in Mzimba district has suspended some of his junior chiefs who presided over a funeral ceremony.

On his part, Sibande explains that under his jurisdiction no chief is allowed to use traditional doctors to exorcise people from witchcraft.

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