Motion passed to protect old people

Monday May 5 2014

Mr Mwatsuma Kalama (second right), the vice chairman of

Mr Mwatsuma Kalama (second right), the vice chairman of "Kaya Council of Elders" in Kilifi County, leads other Kaya elders as they appease the dead at Kaya Kauma on September 18, 2013. Kilifi County wants to enact a law intended to curb the killing of old people suspected of practicing witchcraft. FILE PHOTO/GEORGE KIKAMI. NATION MEDIA GROUP

KAZUNGU SAMUEL
By KAZUNGU SAMUEL
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Kilifi County wants to enact a law intended to curb the killing of old people on suspicion of witchcraft.

The County Assembly has passed a motion, paving the way for tabling of a Bill that would provide for the protection and rehabilitation of elders accused of being witches or sorcerers.

The motion was moved by Vitengeni Ward Representative Teddy Mwambire, who is also the Deputy Speaker.

Members approved it to be subjected to public scrutiny for possible contribution by wananchi.

The motion provides for establishment of recognised rehabilitation centres where elderly people seeking refuge after being threatened with death on witchcraft claims will be accommodated.

VETTING

The Bill, if tabled and passed, will force all traditional herbalists to be vetted by the department of culture and national heritage before being licensed to operate.

It is believed that some quacks masquerading as traditional herbalists have been accusing people of being magicians, leading to their killing by mobs.

Speaking at the weekend at Ambassador Kithi Secondary School in Vitengeni during a funds drive, the Deputy Speaker said the county would enact the law to save old people from killers.

“Since when did it become a curse for one to be an elderly person or grow grey hair?” he said.

“In this county, we are killing these people merely because we have some unresolved family issues and then tag them as witches.”

He asked the public to attend forums that would be organised to discuss the proposals.

POLICE STATISTICS

“We will be here to get your views on what you want to be put into that Bill before it is sent again to the assembly for adoption and subsequently taken to the governor to sign,” he said.

The county Budget and Appropriation Committee chairman, Daniel Mangi, and Mtwapa businessman Stanley Pasha, supported the planned Bill.

Mr Mangi, the Bamba Ward Representative, said the County Assembly members would pass the law.

Police statistics indicate that almost 120 people suspected of witchcraft are killed every year in the county, with five to 10 cases being reported every week.

“The situation is disturbing,” said Mangi Mitsanze, an elder in charge of the Kaya Godhoma shrine which has taken in some old people accused of witchcraft and threatened. He was hopeful that the proposed law would save the elders.