MP criticises police crackdown on youths

Tuesday February 17 2009

By DANIEL NYASSY

The police and provincial administration are partially to blame for the killings of elderly people on claims they practised witchcraft.

The killings, usually by youths, have also been attributed to unemployment and cultural beliefs.

East African Community minister Amason Kingi said the provincial administration and the police were tackling the issue wrongly as it was mainly a social problem needing social solutions.

“Arresting the youth will not stop the murders,” the minister said in Malindi.

Cases of elderly people, especially those with grey hair, being killed on suspicion of practising witchcraft have been on the rise in Magarini.

Mr Kingi, who is the area MP, said youths were bewildered by the mysterious deaths of their colleagues, reinforcing their belief in witchcraft.

“We have lost men in their prime in mysterious circumstances. Their families and the community had a lot of hope in them,” he said.
He said killings of the elderly were usually planned and executed by family members, making it a social problem.

Residents needed to be educated on the subject by local elders and community leaders, he said.