5 February 2013

Kenya: Witch Hunts Claim 250 in Four Years

Two hundred and fifty elderly people suspected to be witches in Kilifi have been killed since 2008 - 2012, the chairman Malindi District Cultural Association Emmanuel Munyaya has said.

Speaking to the Star yesterday, Munyaya said most of them are from Ganze, Kilifi, Bungale, Magarini and Kaloleni areas. "We have received several cases and the number could be higher because many have been killed in the recent past and we have not added them," he said.

Hes said most elderly people are killed because of their property and not because they are witches. He said that in most cases the suspects are killed by members of their family, especially their children.

"When the Mzee has become old you find the youth pressurising him or her to give them land and when they refuse then they called 'witches' so that they can be eliminated," he said.

Munyanya said that most youth kill because they have not gone to school or are idlers. He decried the sense of entitlement that causes the youth to sit around doing nothing, then make demands which he endeavors to achieve no matter the cost.

He challenged the youth to use their energies constructively so as to earn a living. Munyanya said it is not only ungodly to kill one's parents but its taboo in African society and could hamper the development of such an individual.

He urged residents not to participate so eagerly in 'witch burning' since this is encouraging growth of the vice. "We are doing all we can to address this issue but we need government's intervention because it is now becoming a disaster," he said.

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