By Ireen Kayira, MANA
Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Mary Navicha has condemned attacks on the elderly on allegations of witchcraft.
The minister said this during a press briefing in Lilongwe on Monday in reaction to cases in Ntchisi and Neno where elderly persons were killed on allegations of witchcraft.
Navicha said her ministry is concerned by the wave of violence against older persons and how they are being abused, physically injured or killed by some community members in some parts of the country.
“Today I strongly condemn the recent attacks of the older persons in Neno and Ntchisi. I therefore remind everyone that human rights do not diminish as we grow old and everyone has the right to live with dignity and respect,” Navicha said.
She added that the rainy season which has started, is normal and certain weather conditions that are undesirable may occur.
“As we all know rains are usually accompanied by thunderstorms, lightening, floods and dry spells, these occurrences are neither caused nor sanctioned by any human being.
“As they are natural events to which humans have no control or supernatural powers to direct them where to occur,” she said.
She added that it is absurd and immoral to associate the occurrence of these natural events and incidents to deaths as resulting from these older persons.
She lamented that in Malawi when a person is killed by any of these natural occurrences, the blame is mostly on older persons.
“I appeal to all Malawians to desist from attacking the elderly on grounds of false accounts of bewitching people using natural weather events during the rainy season and at any time of the year,”
She added that people should follow weather updates by the department of meteological services and take early precautions to such weather conditions.
On November 19 four elderly persons were killed by an angry community over allegations of witchcraft and a few days later, a couple was killed in Ntchisi over the same allegations.
Article five of the Universal declaration of human rights stipulates that no one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhumane degrading treatment or punishment.