Liberia: “We’ll Continue the Sande Bush Practice of Our Ancestors” – Zoes in Margibi Vow

The following article contains two interesting aspects to which I would like to draw the readers’ attention.

First, I was struck by the public declaration of Chief Zoe, Ma Wrote Musa, to continue certain traditional practices of the ancestors, including the practicing of FGM, female genital mutilation. My interpretation of these remarks is that traditional values and behavior are still undisputed in Liberia, at least at the highest level.

Secondly, almost causal the Chief Zoe mentions ritual killings. Shocking, it’s a public acknowledgement that these age-old practices still occur in this West African country. I found it shocking – which it is not really, in the sense that everyone in Liberia knows of the existence of these crimes, based on greed, superstition and the disrespect of the rule of law and of the human rights of the victims – including the government. (FVDK)

Liberia: “We’ll Continue the Sande Bush Practice of Our Ancestors” – Zoes in Margibi Vow

“We will continue the Sande Bush practice of our ancestors in Liberia. We inherited this practice, and in no way, we are willing to end it. And, if the government and others want to force us, we will traditionally resist. If they want us to leave our ancestors’ practice, let them be equally prepared to let go other practices such as same-sex, the UBF, the Free Masons and ritualistic killings, etc,” said Chief Zoe, Ma Wroto Musa.

Published: August 30, 2022
By: Mae Azango – Front Page Africa

MONROVIA – Hundreds of Liberian school-aged girls and young women stand the risks of being initiated into the Sande Society, also known as the bush school, because, traditional leaders of Margibi County pledged to continue their ancestors’ traditional heritage. 

Chief Zoe, Ma Wroto Musa, Chief Samuel Kollie and other traditional leaders in Weala Margibi County vowed to continue Sande activities admit the three-year suspension on the practice.

“We will continue the Sande Bush practice of our ancestors in Liberia. We inherited this practice, and in no way, we are willing to end it. And, if the government and others want to force us, we will traditionally resist. If they want us to leave our ancestors’ practice, let them be equally prepared to let go other practices such as same-sex, the UBF, the Free Masons and ritualistic killings, etc,” said Chief Zoe, Ma Wroto Musa. 

Speaking in Weala Margibi County, during a recent town hall in meeting, organized by HeForShe Crusaders Liberia, the West Point Women for Health and Development Organization and Community Healthcare Initiative, the zoes, along with over 20 traditional leaders, said even though they are knowledgeable of the three years suspension on FGM activity in Liberia, but they will continue until same-sex and UBF is abolished as well. 

During the ongoing dialogue, in affirmation of their support, all the invited traditional participants raised their hands in support of FGM continuation in Liberia. 

The Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is the umbrella entity responsible for regulations of all traditional affairs, is unaware of the violation by many traditional leaders. When contacted regarding the wave of FGM activities going on after the three-year ban placed on the practice, Assistant Minister for Culture and Customs, Joseph B. Jangar, said he is surprised and shock at the same time such activities but promised to follow up with superintendents of the various counties that are said to be violating the three-year moratorium. 

“The zoes and traditional leaders are all aware of the three-year suspension and not one of those zoes operating the bush schools will be able to show you any certificate from the Ministry of Internal Affairs because we are aware of the ban,” said Minister Jangar. 

It can be recalled that in late February 2022, Chief Zanzan Karwor, Chairman of the National Traditional Council of Liberia, announced a three-year suspension of the practice of female genital mutilation in Liberia. The three-year ban which started with immediate effect came amidst campaigns by human rights groups for a total ban on the practice. But it seems since the declaration was made, many traditional leaders are openly violating the ban. 

“FGM/C is not only a human rights violation, but undermines the peace and security of each and every female. Access to bodily autonomy is a right to every woman, end FGM and its not cultural but harmful suppression,” Saye Tamba F. Johnson, National HeForShe Crusaders Liberia. Johnson said Margibi County is the second county that has challenged the three-year suspension of FGM. The first was Grand Cape Mount in February of 2022. However, Lofa, Gborpolu, Grand Bassa, Bong, Montesrrado and Rivercess Counties are reportedly still carrying out the act, too. 

According to this newspaper’s Nimba County Correspondent, two zoes in that county paid dearly for disobedience to the three-year ban when they were arrested in Sanniquellie, Nimba County, for forcing over 8000 school-going aged girls into the Sande Bush. The girls, who had gone to prepare for 2022/2023 school year, were all captured and forced into the Bush School by the two traditional leaders. And the report added that the practices are presently taking place in the 19 administrative districts in Nimba County.

HeForShe Crusaders Liberia, Lofa County Coordinator Boakai Yamah reported on the increase of FGM activities and listed towns and villages that are carrying out the practice during the three-year suspension. 

“I reported earlier from Lofa County, on the increase in the numbers of Sande Bushes in operation across the county. Here are the names and locations where Sande Bush activities are ongoing.

1. Gbordu Town, Kpalakollie Clan, Tangia Administrative District, Foya 

2. Lawalazu Town, Lower Workor Clan, Voinjama District 

3. Zawoadamai Town, Lower Workor Clan, Voinjama District 

4. Borgondu Town, Quardu Gboni District 

5. Korlelar Town, Quardu Gboni District 

6. Kamolahun Town, Ngolahun Clan, Lukambeh District 

7. Manena Town, Hembeh Clan, Lukambeh District 

8. Lehuma Town, Wanwoma Clan, Wanhassa District. 

However, for Lehunma Town all preparations have been put in place to take the children,” concluded Coordinator Yamah. Back to the Weala Meeting in Margibi, following the intense awareness on the importance of maintaining all positive attributes of the Sande Bush, making away with the circumcision aspect, the leaders and supporters disagreed. “Our leaders at the national level are seeking money and forgetting the values of our heritage. They are seeking their own personal interest and not us. They don’t consult us on issues; we only hear about them, which is a disservice to us. Hence, there is a need for you all to keep engaging us and let us know who are directly involved with the bush and speak out on what is possible,” said Chief Samuel Kollie.

Source:
Liberia: “We’ll Continue the Sande Bush Practice of Our Ancestors” – Zoes in Margibi Vow

Nigeria: Addressing the escalating ritual killings challenge

Everyday I see new reports of ritual killings in Nigeria – locally called ‘money rituals’ – and although I haven’t stopped presenting these articles here, on this site, I have been forced to limit reporting on these barbaric and cruel crimes due to their overwhelming number. Unfortunately, there are many more African countries where ambitious, unscrupulous and criminal people commit the same repulsive crimes and governments fail to act effectively, as is the case in Nigeria.

Nevertheless the foregoing, I wish to draw the readers’ attention to the article below, a Nigerian plea to address the escalating wave of ritual killings terrorizing Africa’s most populated country, divided in 36 states.

Let the article speak for itself. The reader may find useful background reading in my February 13 2022 posting whereas I also wish to remind the reader that on February 9 of this year, the House of Representatives asked the Federal Government to declare state of emergency on ritual killings, signaling the urgency and spread of the problem.
(webmaster FVDK)

Addressing the escalating ritual killings challenge

Published: July 25, 2022
By: Business hallmark – Hallmark News

From all available indications, the killing of humans in Nigeria for ritual purposes is escalating. And it has to be severely addressed.

In some of the more confounding instances, the alleged perpetrators are most shockingly, young people.

An obvious trigger for the disreputable behaviour from many accounts is the parlous economic state of the nation. With inflation, unemployment and the exchange rate posting very dismal statistics, millions of Nigerians are at their wits end as to how to make ends meet. And some are being lulled into the false trap of ritual killings.

Compounding the extant challenges that the average Nigerian is faced with today are the atrocious governance failings countrywide, the unbridled rate of urbanisation and the collapse of both the traditional community structure and family values.

Some others would add factors like the parlous state of public education and very importantly, the untoward practices of several disreputable traditional and religious leaders who hardly inspire a better orientation for the embattled and impressionable in the society at a moment like this.

Indeed, given the reported close synergy between ritual killing practices and traditional and spiritual related observances and leaders, this is one critical area where the searchlight must be beamed as we seek a resolution of the menace. Traditional and spiritual leaders must be put on the spot.

This is more so when the entire ritual industry complex is predicated on traditional and religious factors. Within this framework, the thinking is that when the traditional ‘medicine man’ administers an appropriate mix of fitting incantations and sacrifices, the end result is that a mystical power transfer of sorts can then be effected in which the human sacrifice is then accepted by the superintending spiritual forces who then sign off on the efficacy and acceptability of the sacrifice and thereafter dispense the requested security, material or other similarly incredulous favours to the beneficiaries.

Alarmed by the rising incidence of the nefarious practice, the Federal House of Representatives had in February this year tasked the executive ‘to declare a state of emergency on the rising incidence.’ This was via a motion that was sponsored by its Deputy Minority Leader Toby Okechukwu.

In the same breath, the lawmakers requested Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to “take urgent steps to increase surveillance and intelligence gathering with a view to apprehending and prosecuting all perpetrators of ritual killings in Nigeria.” 

And establishing a cultural nexus to the challenge, the lawmakers equally urged that the National Orientation Agency (NOA) “initiate a campaign towards changing the situation in the country.”

Five months after these resolutions were seemingly passed and carried, there is no let in the rate of incidence as regards the killing for rituals challenge.

Underscoring the depth of the challenge is the fact that pontificating political actors are not innocent of the practice. Indeed, some are minded to believe that they are indeed the prime enablers of the gory ring of shame.

Now and again, the airwaves are littered with news reports and revelations linking political players with acts of ritual. Whether in the Okija shrine incidents earlier in the current democratic disposition where a then serving governor openly confessed to having been taken to a shrine to swear an oath of allegiance to a godfather; or in the Otokoto saga that wracked the Imo State capital, Owerri; or even the Baddoo incidents in Ikorodu, Lagos State, political players have been implicated now and again.

Beyond the immediate precincts of politics is the fact that many of our supposed elite role models also get to be fingered from time to time as being somewhat involved in the ring. At the moment for example, a very notable and high profile tertiary education complex proprietor is being tried on account of the mysterious death of a lodger in his hotel premises.

With clearly both the high and mighty being implicated in the challenge and with many members of the public increasingly being led to believe that you really cannot make good progress in today’s Nigeria without getting involved with shady and nefarious underground groups that are associated with ritual killings and related vices, it is really a herculean task addressing the cankerworm.

An expanded part of the challenge is even more deeply historical. We refer to a time in the distant past when different communities were engaged in acts of war and where, it is believed that the prevalent spiritual environment back then tended to accommodate human ritual killings under certain communally defined conditions. While in the modern social environment this has since been formally outlawed, very clearly some rogue practitioners continue to find ways around its outlawing.

This situation has also not been helped by the continued prevalence of traditional and modernist cult groups that many a time have been widely believed to be associated with ritual killings. While one or more of such groups now and again comes out to the public domain to swear their non-involvement with ritual killings, the deeper fact remains that the tar on the entire sub-set remains. And then you have the yahoo yahoo plus segment of the irascible internet fraud ring.

In the view of the newspaper, what is needed is a firm will to act, to enforce the laws and vigorously drive a campaign to wean our people off the accursed path of ritual killing. And while we are at it, can our leaders all commit to simply going back to the basics and doing very simple things to raise the governance bar? Half of the crisis would be addressed in that way.

Teens arrested in Abeokuta, Ogun State over murder of a teenager girl
Click here for more postings on ritual murders in Ogun State

Source: Addressing the escalating ritual killings challenge

Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa: ‘Stop ritual killings!’

President Mnangagwa was speaking on the occasion of of the National Cultural Commemoration Day. He was accompanied by ZANU PF government officials and facing traditional leaders. Mnangagwa said the values of respect and honor must forever be cherished, but ritual killings and kidnappings have no place in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans are being confronted with a surge in ritual murders of both children and adults. People who believe ‘muti’ will bring them luck, power, prestige or good health, have been ruthlessly disregarding the sanctity of life for their own interests. 

It is seldom that presidents, other high ranking government officials or cultural end traditional leaders are speaking out against these gruesome and age-old practices which have no place in a modern society where respect of human life and the rule of law must be the cornerstones of everyday life (webmaster FVDK).

Stop ritual killings: President Mnangagwa

President Mnangagwa

Published: May 22, 2021
By: The Herald, Zimbabwe –  Fungi Kwaramba in Gokwe   

ZIMBABWEANS led by traditional leaders, as the custodians of the country’s culture, should shun ritual killings and live-in peace, unity and harmony enjoying the rich cultural diversity that the nation offers, President Mnangagwa said.

This comes as the nation has in recent months been witnessing a spike in gruesome murders of children with the murderers wantonly disregarding the sanctity of life. Apart from that cases of kidnapping of children are also on the rise.

However, such practices, the President said, have no place in Zimbabwe, a unitary state that values human life, tolerance, peace and unity which are all cornerstones of national development.

In his address on the occasion of the National Cultural Commemoration Day, that is marked globally on May 21, the President said the values of respect and honour must forever be cherished.

“The values of respect and honour must be promoted while our chiefs and traditional leaders must continue to dissuade our people to shun these so-called ritual practices. The killing of our children is not acceptable,” the President said.

He added that the convergence of people from all walks of life at Chief Njelele homestead is part of the African tradition of approaching life communally and must forever be observed as it defines, not only Zimbabweans but Africans at large.

“I want to express my profound gratitude to Mambo, Chief Njelele for allowing the nation to gather here at his homestead and to share this important day with the great people of this area.

“This tradition of communities visiting one another and celebrating important events is in keeping with our African culture and tradition. As a people, let us never lose our communal approach as we continue to build peace and cohesion among our communities and within the nation,” he said.

This year National Cultural Day commemorations were held at the homestead of Chief Njelele, under the theme “Resilience in safeguarding creativity and diversity,” an apt theme that speaks to the needs to preserve the country’s rich heritage.

The President who was accompanied by Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is also the ruling party Zanu PF national chairperson, Youth, Sport, Art and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry, Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu, State Security Minister Owen Ncube, Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo and other senior Government officials, toured colourful exhibitions, where traditional cuisine, medicine, and instruments were on display as Zimbabweans in their diversity showcased their creativity.

The day also saw traditional artistes entertaining the gathering that thronged Chief Njelele homestead to celebrate Zimbabwe’s culture.

“I want to commend stakeholders for the magnificent cultural exhibitions and displays we toured earlier. These demonstrate the universally recognised fact that as African people, we have rich arts, customs and practices. As we have seen today, these are expressed through crafts, clothing, cuisines, music, dance, folklore (ngano), religion and languages,” he said.

But such a history can only be preserved if it is passed from one generation to another because a people without a culture is like a tree without roots, the President added.

“In line with my Governments quest to build strong cultural identity, values and ethics, I challenge families, communities and institutions to diligently nurture a society that recognises our rich cultural heritage while embracing our diversity. These must be passed on from generation to generation.

“As one philosopher once said, ‘a people without the knowledge of their past history. Origin and culture are like a tree without roots.’ While another said, ‘to know your future, you must know your past’.”

The President also saluted First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa for the role she is playing in coming up with the National Dress Fabric and reviving the Nhanga/Gota/Ixhiba.

“These programmes sustain our social cultural systems, a people premised on the African philosophy of Ubuntu/Hunhu which says, ‘I am, because you are’.

“I exhort families and communities to continue implementing these cultural practices towards protecting the youth from immoral vices and alien values,” he said.

In line with history and cultural preservation, Zimbabwe is in the process of honouring its heroes and heroines who sacrificed life and limb to defend the country’s traditional values.

“This year’s cultural commemoration entails that we also reflect on our liberation war heritage. The rich heritage interests. Research must consistently enrich studies in heritage, arts and culture with the view of informing the course for a more prosperous future. We can only ignore our history at the detriment of future generations.

“Meanwhile, I commend the youth for their determination, towards developing, publishing and broadcasting our rich liberation war heritage. This will go a long way in enriching the discussions around the country’s liberation heritage from our own.”

The President, who is also the Commander-in Chief of the Defence Forces, commended players in the arts sector for the broadcasting of the story of the iconic national heroine Mbuya Nehanda and the publication of the zography on Comrade Herbert W Chitepo, among other literal and artistic works.

“It is in this vein that on Africa Day, May 25, we will also honour and remember Mbuya Nehanda, who is one of the great authors of our revolution for national independence. I urge the youth, academia and professionals to be actively involved in the ongoing memorialisation of our heritage.

“Projects such as the establishment of the African Liberation War Museum, upgrading of our liberation battle sites, detention and restriction camps must interest our young people.

“These sites include Kamungoma in Masvingo Province, Pupu in Matabeleland North Province and Sikombela here in Gokwe District, among others.”

Meanwhile, the President promised the arts sector, which has not been spared by the crippling effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, that Government recognises the role that culture and heritage can play as a catalyst for sustainable socio-economic development, national, regional and continental integration.

“To this end, the creation of an enabling regulatory and policy framework for the development and growth of the cultural and creative sector is on-going. Cabinet has since approved the enactment of the Arts and Culture Bill which seeks to promote arts and culture as a vehicle for empowerment and employment.”

Source: Stop ritual killings: President

Zimbabwe: Police engage chiefs over ritual murders, other vices

An abundance of activities have been undertaken following the surge in ritualistic murders in Zimbabwe.

Let’s hope that it’s not in vain (webmaster FVDK).  

Police engage chiefs over ritual murders, other vices

Mashonaland East province has an area of 32,230 km² and a population of approximately 1.35 million . Marondera is the capital of the province.
Picture shows one the attractions of Gosho Park, a conservation area of approximately 340 hectares of land on the Springvale Estate , situated in Mashonaland East.

Published: April 29, 2021
By: News Day, Zimbabwe – Jairos Saunyama    

Police in Mashonaland East province this week held a meeting with local traditional leaders as part of efforts to curb the rise in criminal activities, especially ritual murders.

Officer Commanding Mashonaland East police Commissioner Grace Ndou said there was need for law enforcement agents to work with the traditional leaders to combat crime and urged chiefs to warn their subjects against engaging in “weird” practices.

“Ritual murders are now making our society dangerous to live in. Our children are living in fear and parents are grappling with deep fear as well, fearing the worst each passing day. As a united community, we can work together to create an environment where our children can safely live,” Ndou said.

“As our chiefs, we believe in your counsel to dispel some beliefs in some of the people who believe in weird ritual acts that may be behind these ritual murders.”

Other crimes that have been prevalent in the province include domestic violence, stocktheft and murder.

Provincial chiefs’ council chairperson Chief Nechombo, who is also a senator, hailed the police for the engagement and emphasised that traditional leaders would play their part in combating crime.

The province has recorded several murder cases among them, the Tapiwa Makore ritual murder that occurred in Nyamutumbu area, Murewa, in September last year.

Source: Police engage chiefs over ritual murders, other vices

South Africa: traditional leaders urged to stop ritual killings (2016 article)

Speaking at a traditional medicine day held in Giyani in 2016, the President of traditional healers association in SADC region, Dr Sylvester Hlathi, urged local traditional healers to stop ritual killings. Isn’t this remarkable – and courageous? On the one hand one could argue that apparently his appeal hasn’t prevented muti murderers in the northeastern part of the country to continue their ugly practices, on the other hand it is promising and encouraging to realize that voices are raised against these heinous crimes based on superstition and a repulsive greed for money and/or power.

Dr. Hlathi’s remarks gave me goose pimples, he spoke openly and publicly, and didn’t beat around the bush. “We as traditional healers must stop using human parts to make medicine, we must stop ritual killings as we are called to heal people not to kill people,” he said.

Kudos for Dr. Hlathi! I wonder what has become of him. (webmaster FVDK).

Traditional leaders urged to stop ritual killings

Dr Sylvester Hlathi addressing local traditional healers during the traditional medicine day. Photo by Tony Myambo.

Published: September 8, 2016
By: Letaba herald – Tony Myambo

The President of traditional healers association in SADC region Dr Sylvester Hlathi has urged local traditional healers to stop ritual killings.

Hlathi was speaking during a traditional medicine day held in cheapside complex outside Giyani on Wednesday.

“We as traditional healers must stop using human parts to make medicine, we must stop ritual killings as we are called to heal people not to kill people,” said Hlathi.

He also urged traditional healers to stop raping patients telling them that they will get healed if they sleep with them.

“We must stop sleeping with our own patients telling them they will be healed only if they sleep with us, this will weaken our traditional medicine not to work as it is not human and ancestors will punish us,” he said.

He also encouraged them to go test for HIV/AIDS. “You must also go get tested, you must stop this thing of saying I don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend you must get tested so that you can also encourage your patients to go for tests because using only traditional medicine to cure this disease is not good,” he explained.

He also told them to stop giving medicine to criminals to come out of prison or charms to do crime but work with police in order to fight crime.

He however pleaded with traditional leaders to chase away fake traditional healers in their villages.

“Traditional leaders you must demand certificates of practice from these traditional healers, if they don’t have any – chase them away,” said Hlathi.

Hosi Edward Chauke, Congress of traditional leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) in Malamulele secretary, applauded local traditional healers for coming together to celebrate traditional medicine day and uniting with one another.

“As traditional leaders we would like to acknowledge you for coming together and for celebrating our traditional medicine. I would like to assure you that as traditional leaders, we recognize you.”

Source: Traditional leaders urged to stop ritual killings