Label the Elderly Witches?

Thu, Aug 21, 2008

News, Research, Traditional Afrikan

Another case of “witch hunting” in Africa. Everywhere we see Africans killing the elderly, women and children because Christian or Muslim factions are accusing those that practice or even appear to practice Traditional African Religion of being witches and wizards. A witch or wizard by African definition is someone that can use spiritual powers alone to affect change, travel and/or assert their will.

While R&R doesn’t deny the existence of such people (we have them wherever their are people of color in the world), we call upon Africans to realize that a gift from God is not evil. It’s how that gift is used. And in most cases, African “witches” are not evil. Aside from this, religious fanatics are using this as a means of controlling the minds and hearts of the general citizenry. There are trying to scare people into believing in the religions of invaders by creating punishments for those that stand outside their thinking.


Mombasa Municipal askaris arrest a homeless man recently. Many elderly people prefer the streets to their rural homes.

Mombasa Municipal askaris arrest a homeless man recently. Many elderly people prefer the streets to their rural homes.


By Maureen Maudi And Joseph Masha

It is almost a crime to grow old in some parts of the country, and the ‘victims’ are labelled witches — for which they are liable to suffer mob-justice or other forms of maltreatment.

Sporting white hair is also a crime that is linked to ‘evil’ practices.

In Mombasa, some elderly people resort to street life to avoid an early death. That explains why the streets of Mombasa have so many old men and women.

Kilifi town, about 50 kilometres from Mombasa, is now a no-go zone for old men in tattered garments.

witchcraft claims

Mzee Katana Kasena, 78, lives under constant threat of lynching over claims that he is a witch.

At his Miwaleni village, Mwanamwinga location in Kaloleni District, aged people like him who have grey hairs, dress shabbily and live in makuti structures are labelled witches.

“These claims are not true,” he told Crazy Monday recently. “This is the work of my close relatives who are out to kill me so that they can grab my farm.”

“My relatives have raided my house three times with the aim of killing me with pangas, but God has been saving me every time,” Kasena adds.

At Mavueni location in Kilifi, Amina Charo is in a similar situation Family members are after her head claiming that she practices witchcraft.

She has received a letter containing a list of alleged witches who will soon be killed. She is on the list. “These claims are not true and I fear for my life,” the elderly Amina says.

According to her, the letter — allegedly written by ‘99 brothers’ — was dropped at her house at night and she discovered it in the morning.

Amina did not take the matter lightly and reported the matter to the provincial administration to get protection.

She says other elderly people in the area who had received similar warnings were killed by unknown people and their bodies strung from tress to show they had committed suicide.

In Kilifi it is claimed that family members collude to kill their ageing parents, grandparents and uncles, accusing them of bewitching them.

As a result, many ageing people prefer to continue living in urban centres after retirement or buy land far from their villages.

Police in Kilifi estimate that 90 per cent of the deaths of elderly people in the area are a result of murder.

The Officer Commanding Station in Kilifi, Mr Samuel Bore says investigations have established that such murders are by close family members of the deceased or hired thugs. In most cases the dead are accused of having practised witchcraft.

organised crime

“There is evidence that most of the elderly people killed in unclear circumstances were eliminated by villagers accusing them of being wizards,” says Bore.

The police boss recalls a case three weeks ago where an old man was slashed with pangas and his body left in a pool of blood.

Villagers discovered the body of 75-year-old Katana Kalama 20 metres from his Maweni Bofa village and reported the discovery to police.

Bore says Kalama was killed by unknown people after close family members, including his wife, had gone to attend a funeral near the village.

“Preliminary police investigations have revealed that the death of the old man had been organised by people who suspected him to be a wizard,” said Bore

The police officer says people living near where the old man was killed were found taking the local brew, mnazi, allegedly to celebrate the death of a man they claimed was responsible for the death of many youths in the village.

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