The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AfAW) is urging the government of Zimbabwe to take urgent steps to stop the killing of persons accused of witchcraft in the country. This appeal has become necessary following the gruesome murder in Bulawayo of an 83 year old man, Mitsho Ncube.
According to a report in the Zimbabwean Chronicle, Ncube’s son, Thanbani bludgeoned the father to death after accusing him of witchcraft. The accusation is linked to the father’s refusal to use the rentals collected from tenants to pay utility bills. Thanbani, who had not paid his bills for more than four years, had after consulting local prophets said that the father had cast spell on him. He blamed the father for being responsible for his sickness and miserable life situation.
Such baseless accusations are rampant in Zimbabwe and often lead to the attack and killing of the accused. The government of Zimbabwe must take urgent steps to educate and get the people of Zimbabwe to understand that witchcraft is a form of superstition, and has no causal connection with everyday misery and misfortune. As this case shows, there is a mental health angle to witchcraft allegation and witch persecution. The government should consider subjecting witchcraft accusers and witch hunters to medical examination in order to ascertain the state of their mental health.
In addition, the government must sanction and call to order prophets, pastors, traditional medicine practitioners, priests and priestesses and all who sanctify and validate the belief that misfortunes could be caused by occult means. Like Thanbani, many people accuse, attack and murder alleged witches after consulting these god men and women. In fact these charlatans embolden persons who entertain witchcraft fears and anxieties to commit egregious crimes. Witchcraft accusation-enabling god men and women should be prosecuted for inciting violence and hatred, and for aiding and abetting crimes.
AfAW urges all Zimbabweans to become advocates for alleged witches and help defend and protect these innocent persons. Zimbabweans should embrace the vision of tackling witch persecution in the region, and of realizing a witch-hunting free Zimbabwe, and a witch-hunting free Africa in 2030.