Ghana Pentecostals come to the defense of accused witches

In Ghana, superstition is widespread, and Ghana is not the only SSA country where people firmly believe in the power of witches, witchdoctors, and witchcraft. The fear which many people have for those perceived to be witches may lead to abnormal reactions, as the case below illustrates. A woman was beaten to death just because she was thought to be a witch and accused of causing irregular rain.

Education is the only effective means to fight superstition. Meanwhile the rule of law must apply. A government and society cannot tolerate the law of the jungle.

The article presented below is only part of the original article. Members only have access to the full article published by the online news site Christianity Today. See the original link below. (Webmaster FVDK)

Ghana Pentecostals Come to the Defense of Accused Witches

Published: November 23, 2020
By: Christianity Today, Ghana – Daniel Silliman and Griffin Paul Jackson  

An old woman was killed when she refused to confess to causing irregular rain. Christians had to speak up. 

Pentecostals everywhere sing about the power of Jesus’ name. But in Ghana, they sing specifically that his name is powerful against witches.

More than 90 percent of Ghanaian Christians believe witchcraft is a problem in the country, and more than half have visited a Pentecostal prayer camp to ask for deliverance from witches and demons, according to a study by Opoku Onyinah, theologian and past president of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC). The Spirit-empowered churches in the West African country don’t take the issue of witches lightly.

But this summer, the GPCC decided to speak up for the women who are accused of witchcraft. The Pentecostal group, an umbrella organization of 200 denominations and parachurches, called for new laws and a national conversation about how to better take care of the more than 2,000 widows who have been exiled over allegations of working with demons.

The churches decided to make a statement after an elderly Muslim woman in a rural village was beaten to death when she refused to confess to witchcraft. Akua Denteh was accused of causing irregular rain, starting fires, and killing children with supernatural powers. A video of her violent death—as a crowd stood watching—was shared widely around the country, and Christian leaders decided they could no longer be silent.

“The elderly, weak and vulnerable must be targeted for the care and protection of our society,” the GPCC statement said. “We must, at all cost, seek justice for this 90-year-old woman and all those who have suffered such atrocities in the past.”

Onyinah, speaking on a popular radio program, called for laws controlling witch hunts and witch identifications. He added a specific ….. the rest of the article is available for ‘members-only’ (follow the link below)

Source: Ghana Pentecostals Come to the Defense of Accused Witches

Zimbabwe – Murehwa ritual killing: N’anga speaks on Murehwa boy’s murder

The following articles provide a useful insight into the background of (some) ritual murders in Sub-Saharan Africa – in this case in Zimbabwe – notably the involvement of relatives.

To refresh your mind, the articles relate to the gruesome muthi or muti murder of a 7-year old boy in Makore village, Mashonaland East. On September 18 of this year, 7-year old Tapiwa Makore was discovered, severely mutilated with several body parts missing, after he got missing a few days earlier. Soon the police arrested a suspected culprit as well as the man who allegedly ordered the crime, Tapiwa Makore Senior, uncle of the deceased and the elder brother of the victim’s father.

Now the police have arrested a traditional healer (n’niga), Tinei Makore aka Marvelous Muchedzi, a witch doctor who allegedly is connected to the murder. The suspect is also a relative of the murdered boy’s parent. He is also a known tsikamutanda (witch hunter).

Notwithstanding the foregoing, we should not forget that one is not guilty until found guilty in an impartial, transparent trial by an independent judge. That’s the rule of law which is one of the pillars of a free, democratic society respecting the universal human rights. But the same human rights also give the right to live: an unalienable right of both the victim and the countless other victims of ritualistic activities – both in Zimbabwe, in Sub-Saharan Africa and the world at large.

Warning: the following articles contain graphic details of the heinous crime (webmaster FVDK).

The victim of the ritual murder, 7-year old Tapiwa Makore

Murehwa Ritual Killing Latest: N’anga speaks on Murehwa boy’s murder

October 11, 2020
By: Sunday Mail Zimbabwe – Garikai Mazara

THE mystery surrounding the whereabouts of slain seven-year-old Tapiwa Makore’s missing head and hands has deepened.

The traditional healer suspected to be the brains behind the ritual murder is saying it was pure coincidence that he happened to visit the village the week that the boy disappeared and was allegedly murdered.

Tapiwa disappeared on Thursday September 17, only for his torso to be dragged by dogs into a village compound the following morning. 

Tinei Makore, also known as Marvellous Muchedzi, who is a known traditional healer, had left the village the previous day, Wednesday September 16.

The Sunday Mail tracked him down and found him at his compound in the Mvurwi farming area. He confirmed that he had, indeed, visited his home village in the three days preceding Tapiwa’s disappearance and subsequent murder.

He revealed that he spent his three-day stay in the village with Tapiwa Makore Senior, the co-accused in the disappearance and alleged murder of Tapiwa Junior.

“I had been away from my village for slightly more than a year. I got a witch-hunting job to do at Chabwino Farm, in the Shamva area and after I was paid, I decided to go home and catch up with my cousins,” narrated Tinei.

“I left this farm (Mvurwi area) on Saturday and arrived in Makore village Monday. Since I moved out of the village some three years back and there is no one staying in the home which we used to stay, Tapiwa Senior said I could spend my days in the village staying with him.

“On the Monday, we spent time in the village mixing with other folks, trying to catch up. That night I slept at Tapiwa’s home. The following day, I spent almost the whole of it attending to my motorbike which had a puncture. 

“Tapiwa Senior said he was going to work with other villagers on deepening his well, as the water was no longer enough for his cabbages.”

Tinei said he slept at Tapiwa Senior’s home as well that Tuesday evening before bidding him farewell on Wednesday morning as he returned to Mvurwi.

“I stopped-over at Kashiri’s place, Fraser Farm, around the Bindura area, on my way here. I slept there Thursday and arrived back on Friday. Then on Saturday morning, I received a call from the person I had visited at Chabwino, asking me if it was true, the news that was coming from Makore village that a child had been found murdered. 

“That is how I got to know that there had been a murder back in my village. I told him I was back in Mvurwi and had not heard anything. Then the news started circulating on social media and I phoned some relatives back home, only to find out if it was true.”

A self-confessed traditional healer since 1992, “when I was 20 years old”, Tinei said it was happenstance that he decided to visit his village the same week that Tapiwa Junior disappeared and coincidental that he stayed with Tapiwa Senior, the co-accused in the disappearance and murder of Tapiwa Junior.

Chief Superintendent George Mugonda, Officer in Charge at Murehwa Police Station, confirmed that Tinei is a suspect, though they were not sure about his whereabouts.

“We have been informed by the family that a relative, for long known as a traditional healer, visited the village in the days leading to the disappearance of Tapiwa Junior. We are yet to interview him as we don’t know his whereabouts,” the police supremo in Murehwa district said.

At Makore village, Munyaradzi Makore and wife, the parents of the murdered boy, said though they do not have any conclusive evidence linking Tinei to the murder, what they cannot understand is the coincidence around their relative, a known tsikamutanda (witch hunter), visiting at about the same time their son disappeared.

“For the time being we are working with what Tafadzwa Shamba has indicated and further than that, we are not privileged to comment neither can we assume. Just that the coincidence is too much to stomach for us. We will leave the police to conclude their investigations,” said Munyaradzi, the father.

Chief Supt Mugonda said besides Shamba’s confessions, which led to the discovery of the boy’s legs, they have no further information. 

“The co-accused, Tapiwa Makore Senior, is refusing any involvement in the murder. In fact, he is not saying anything apart from his name. So all the information that we have so far, is what Tafadzwa has told us.”

According to Makore villagers, Tapiwa Senior lived in Harare for several years before returning to the village in July this year with a proposal to do a cabbage project. And for effect, there are times he came with his “investors” to have a look at his settings.

The long-term plan was to drill a borehole, with the help of the “investors”. However, after a couple of visits, the “investors” stopped coming to the village for the progress checks. Besides the cabbage nursery, land had been prepared for transplanting the same.

Stuck with more than enough cabbage seedlings, Tapiwa Senior is said to have started selling the seedlings, which apparently found no takers, as the water sources were drying up in the area. He, however, managed to transplant some of them in his garden.

Then Tinei, the traditional healer, paid the three-day visit, arriving on a Monday, departing on a Wednesday, a day before Tapiwa Junior disappeared.

On Friday September 18 morning, a dog dragged a human torso into a nearby village compound.

“What pains us up to now,” narrated Mrs Makore, Tapiwa’s mother, “is that uncle Tapiwa accompanied us on the six-hour party that we had to look for my son. But looking back now, we now understand, he was interfering a lot with the search, saying things that dispirited us. We abandoned the search around midnight, which tallies with the time that Tafadzwa said they killed my son.

Screenshot from the video, click here to listen to the interview

“The following morning, as soon as daybreak, we resumed the search. Then a boy was sent to where we were, advising us to abandon the search and go home. I started crying, I knew that my son was dead. But my thinking then, as I had sent him to the garden, was that he had drowned in a well. I was asked not to go where everyone was going, but asked to go to my mother-in-law’s place.

“This was around 7am. I was only asked to attend to the scene around 3pm when the police had already been called in. My husband, though, had been there. When I got there the torso was covered with a blanket and I did not see anything. The only time I saw it, was when it was put into the steel coffin.”

At the time of his disappearance, Tapiwa Junior was putting on a maroon trousers and a white round-neck jersey with blue stripes. His shoes were found by the garden but the clothes have not been found as yet.

When investigating officers came back after collecting the body, they asked everyone in the village to stand with his wife. All the women were asked to stay in one place and as the men went on a search of each household.

A trousers with blood stains was found in Tafadzwa’s room. Tafadzwa was staying with Tapiwa Senior as his herd boy. On initial and separate questioning, Tapiwa Senior is said to have said that the blood was that of a chicken that he had asked Tafadzwa to kill for their meal. On the other hand, Tafadzwa is said to have said he had slept with a virgin the previous day. When the named girl was asked, she refused having slept with Tafadzwa.

Interestingly, Tinei, the traditional healer, in admitting that for two nights he slept in one of Tapiwa Senior’s spare bedrooms, said that Tafadzwa was not staying with Tapiwa Senior, but was staying at the Katsande homestead, a stone’s throw from Tapiwa’s homestead. He said Tapiwa Senior prepared the Tuesday meal for him.

In accordance with local traditions, Chief Mangwende has ordered that no corpse will be buried in his area without a head.

Thus, the Makores’ appeal to the co-accused is to come clean on the whereabouts of their son’s head so that he can be accorded a decent burial.

“We want our son to finally be put to rest but we are appealing to those who have our son’s head to come clean, there is no need to keep hiding it because the whole world now knows what happened. We want closure on the matter, at least for now,” said the mother.

Chief Supt Mugonda was singing from the same hymn book, pleading with anyone who might have information that might bring the matter to finality to come forward. 

“This issue is no longer a Murehwa issue, but it is now a national issue, so if there is anyone out there who might have any information that might help us locate the boy’s head, please let them come forward.”

Tinei, the traditional healer, said no one, not even the police, had approached him to give his side of the story but has nothing to hide. 

“It is just pure coincidence that I happened to be at the village the same week this murder occurred, otherwise I am prepared to go back to the village to clear my name.”

On the two Tapiwas’ sharing the same name, Mr Munyaradzi Makore said it was pure coincidence that they gave their son the name of his cousin, and that they did not give him the name as an honour to Tapiwa Senior.

“True, we once stayed with him (Tapiwa Senior) in Mufakose for some four months. At the time, I had separated with my wife and during the course of reuniting, we had this son, and we were just elated that we had been blessed with a son, as our first-born was a girl. So we named him Tapiwa. It had nothing to do with my cousin.”

Source: N’anga speaks on Murehwa boy’s murder

More (partly based on the previous article):

Murehwa Ritual Killing Latest: N’anga Speaks Out

Published: October 11, 2020
By: iHarare – Tim E. Ndoro

The investigation into the horrific ritual murder of seven-year-old Tapiwa Makore of Murehwa last month has taken another twist after the n’anga who is alleged to be the mastermind of the plot spoke out. The traditional healer is denying claims that he was behind the ritual murder and is insisting that it’s pure coincidence that he was in Makore Village around almost the same time that Tapiwa was kidnapped and murdered in cold blood.

iHarare has learned from the Sunday Mail – see preceding article (webmaster FVDK) – that Tinei Makore, who also goes by Marvellous Muchedzi, is a well known traditional healer who is related to the victim and the chief suspect Tapiwa Makore senior.

The traditional healer is reported to have visited Makore Village and stayed with Tapiwa Makore Senior. After he left, 7-year-old Tapiwa Makore disappeared the next day and his mutilated torso was discovered a day later.

The police have since confirmed that they regard the n’anga as a suspect but have been unable to locate him so far. Chief Superintendent George Mugonda, the Officer in Charge at Murehwa Police Station, told the publication,

“We have been informed by the family that a relative, for long known as a traditional healer, visited the village in the days leading to the disappearance of Tapiwa Junior. We are yet to interview him as we don’t know his whereabouts,”

Tafadzwa Shamba at the crime scene

However, reporters from the Sunday Mail managed to track down Tinei Makore at this base in Mvurwi, where he insisted that his hands are clean. The traditional healer said that it was mere coincidence that he visited the village a few days before Tapiwa was kidnapped and killed in the ritual killing.

Narrating the events surrounding his visit, the n’anga told the scribes,

“I had been away from my village for slightly more than a year. I got a witch-hunting job to do at Chabwino Farm, in the Shamva area and after I was paid, I decided to go home and catch up with my cousins.

“I left this farm (Mvurwi area) on Saturday and arrived in Makore village Monday. Since I moved out of the village some three years back and there is no one staying in the home which we used to stay, Tapiwa Senior said I could spend my days in the village staying with him.

“On Monday, we spent time in the village mixing with other folks, trying to catch up. That night I slept at Tapiwa’s home. The following day, I spent almost the whole of it attending to my motorbike which had a puncture.

Tapiwa Makore Senior (Image Credit: Zimpapers Digital) 

Tinei also said that the police are yet to get in touch with him over the matter insisting that he is quite eager to clear his name.

“It is just pure coincidence that I happened to be at the village the same week this murder occurred, otherwise I am prepared to go back to the village to clear my name.”

Tapiwa’s family and the police are appealing for information which can aid in the recovery of Tapiwa’s head.

The family is currently unable to bury Tapiwa’s remains because traditional leader, Chief Mangwende decreed hat no corpse will be buried in his area without a head.

Source: Murehwa Ritual Killing Latest: N’anga Speaks Out