Leo Igwe does not need any introduction. Multiple times I have posted articles on this indefatigable human rights champion. See e.g. my October 25, 2021 posting.
The belief in witchcraft and the weak rule of law in many African countries contribute to mob justice (or ‘jungle justice’ as this popular act is also called) and lynchings of perceived witches. In Kenya e.g., as in many other African countries, mob justice is criminal. Nevertheless, up to five incidents are reported (!) weekly in this East African country. The reader may guess what happens in other African countries… (FVDK).
Witchcraft Persecution and Advocacy without Borders in Africa
Published: March 3, 2023
By: This Day – Nigeria
The Advocacy for Alleged Witches urges Africans to campaign against abuses linked to witchcraft beliefs everywhere. This call follows the rescue of Nigerian nationals, who were accused of witchcraft in Kenya. As reported, the police rescued these Nigerians in Thika Town in Kiambu County. It was stated that an angry mob beat and almost lynched them while they were performing some rituals. These Nigerians claimed that they were conducting some prayers. It was not stated the kind of prayers that they were conducting. The police intervened, resisted the mob, and took these nationals, who sustained some injuries, to a nearby hospital.
The Advocacy for Alleged Witches commends the Kenya police for intervening and rescuing these foreign nationals. As in many parts of Africa, witchcraft accusation is a killer phenomenon, and a death sentence. These foreign nationals were fortunate. Police rescued them. In many instances, the police arrive late, after the damage has been done.
Recently, Kenya recorded incidents of witch persecution and killing. Last week, two elderly women, accused of witchcraft, were lynched in Murang’a County. There is still no information regarding the arrest and prosecution of suspected perpetrators of this heinous crime. In other African countries, such as Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, accusations of witchcraft and witch persecution take place. Alleged witches have been attacked, killed, or banished. However, in most cases, locals are the target.
People often accuse members of their neighbors, members of their family or community. This incident draws attention to the fact that foreigners are also at risk of being accused. Africans should look beyond their borders in advocating against witchcraft-linked violations. People often demonize strange and unfamiliar prayer and ritual forms. They regard them as evil, as invocations of occult harm. African Christians and Muslims have been indoctrinated to demonize, occultize and witchcraftize religious others, especially traditional religions or any ritual forms that deviate from religion, as they know it.
As this incident has illustrated, those who conduct prayers and rituals that depart from local norms are at risk of being accused of witchcraft and evil magic. Witchcraft accusation is a threat to the lives of Africans everywhere. Africans should not look the other way as alleged witches are attacked and killed in other countries. They should know that everyone is at risk of being accused or killed for witchcraft, whether you are a local or a foreigner. Africans should strive to advocate against witchcraft accusations and witch persecution without borders.
Leo Igwe directs the Advocacy for Alleged Witches
Related: 9 foreigners escape death in Thika after prayers mistaken for witchcraft
Published: February 28, 2023
By: Nation – Kenya