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Archbishop George Tambala of Lilongwe, Malawi (The Tablet/YouTube)

Catholic bishops in Malawi have called on the government to protect the country’s seniors, warning that many of them face the risk of violence and abuse over allegations of practising witchcraft. Source: The Tablet.

In a wide-ranging pastoral letter on February 25, the bishops criticised the government’s failure to meet its promises, condemned persistent wastage, corruption and nepotism, and emphasised the need to care of the environment, alongside their appeal for the elderly.

“Some elderly people in Malawi live in fear that their lives are in danger. Many older men and women face the reality of being victims of witchcraft-based violence and other grave human rights violations and abuses,” said the letter, signed by Archbishop George Tambala of Lilongwe, president of Malawi’s bishops’ conference, along with nine other bishops.

They said that in 2023 alone, 78 seniors were tortured and 25 killed for allegedly practising witchcraft. In one of the most recent cases in December, a gang buried 66-year-old Christina Chiwoko up to her neck while interrogating her for alleged witchcraft.

“While cases of victimisation of older women and men are on the rise, there are no noticeable concrete steps by the government to address and remedy this critical human rights problem,” said the bishops, adding that a law protecting seniors would enhance their security and guarantee access to justice.

At the same time, the bishops said they had witnessed a glaring failure of leadership, with Malawi’s leaders becoming “salesmen of words” with no serious attempt at keeping any promises they made to the people.

“In fact, rather than fulfilling any promises, they are making new ones with total disregard for accountability. Is it all just words, words, empty words,” the letter said.


Protect elderly from witchcraft allegations, demand Malawi bishops (By Fredrick Nzwili, The Tablet)