Special Law Commission, constituted by Malawi Law Commission (MLC) has finalised its review of Witchcraft Act and has come up with proposed amendments which will decrease cases of mob justice if adopted by Parliament.
During a press briefing to present findings on the review on myths surrounding witchcraft in the country, Chairperson for MLC, Justice Robert Chinangwa, said in the past, cases of mob justice have been increasing since the law was not recognising existence of witchcraft.
Chinangwa said the new law should recognise that witchcraft exists and that the practice should now be considered as a criminal act.
“We are making propositions that the maximum penalty to a person found guilty of practicing witchcraft should be 10 years and death penalty for people convicted of killing through witchcraft,” Chinangwa
In his remarks, Minister of Justice, Titus Mvalo said the findings and recommendations by MLC would change the way people handle witchcraft cases.
Mvalo hoped that the findings and recommendations will help create peace in Malawi.
However, in a joint statement CHRR and CEDEP say they are particularly worried with the recommendation to penalise witchcraft practices, arguing that this is highly problematic
CHRR executive director Michael Kaiyatsa and CEDEP director Gift Trapence said “in the last two years alone we have documented over 60 cases of killings based on witchcraft, most of them older persons.”
Kaiyatsa and Trapence have stressed that law enforcement agencies should strictly enforce the law to deal with witchdoctors and those who call themselves prophets