The government has said that ‘fake’ pastors and medicine men in Kilifi will be arrested and prosecuted for incitement.
The 'pastors' and medicine men have been accused of inciting the public to lynch those suspected of practising witchcraft. This has led to the death of 29 elders in Rabai in the last two years.
Kilifi security team comprising seven chiefs, 16 assistant chiefs, Rabai OCPD David Maina, DCI John Lelei and County Commissioner Magu Mutindika said that fake pastors and medicine men have been inciting the community to lynch people they have declared as witches.
This was revealed during a workshop organized by Haki Yetu, a non-governmental organisation, to deliberate on how to end the killings in Rabai.
Addressing the press during the workshop, Mr Mutindika ordered the arrest and prosecution of ‘prophets’ and medicine men for inciting the public to commit murder.
“In some cases, they solicit money from the victims’ families to conduct special prayers to drive away evil and reveal the witches’ identity,” Mr Mutindika said. He added: “This is a backward ideology and their days are numbered.”
Mr Mutindika, who revealed that most medicine men come from a neighbouring country, urged the public to be on high alert to avoid being victims of their propaganda.
“It is ironic that Rabai being one for of the places where Christianity started, locals still believe in witchcraft,” he said in reference to Rabai Mission which was established in 1846 by Johann Ludwig Krapf, a European missionary.
Fr Gabriel Dolan, a human rights activist and Haki Yetu director called on the government to punish the fake pastors.
“The issue of fake pastors inciting the public to lynch ‘wicked’ members of the community must stop, we must support the government in fighting this vice,” said Fr Dolan.
Haki Yetu project coordinator Justus Wanyama said the sensitisation programme has been successful in Ganda, Goshi, Matuga, Uwanja Ndege, Matolani in Kilifi and Kwale counties.
“We will meet religious leaders and Kaya elders to deliberate on how solve this problem,” he said.
Mr Lelei said investigations have established that some of the victims were given options to commit suicide by hanging or taking poison before being lynched.
During the workshop, chiefs produced statistics of people killed through mob justice. They however, said that most of the murders were due to land disputes, robberies and adultery.
11 PEOPLE MURDERED
Mr Anthony Jao, a chief said 11 people aged between 55 and 60 years were murdered in Rabai location in last two-years.
“Most elders are accused of witchcraft and killed by those who later inherit their land,” he said.
In Pangani-Maereni location, area chief Martin Mjape said that two elders were lynched after being accused of bewitching locals.
“Mr Lenox Katana was lynched after his son accused him of bewitching his child who had fallen ill,” he said.
Mikahani Location Chief Evans Mvondi said a 40-year-old man was lynched following wrangles between two families.
In another incident, five elders were lynched in one month after a ‘prophet’ visited their village to reveal witches and drive out demons.
It was revealed that in some cases, medicine men would be bribed to implicate some people.