Here's a sad story out of Zambia.
Paramount Chief Chitimukulu of the Bemba speaking people in Northern Province has allegedly established an illegal prison at his palace to confine people being suspected of practicing witchcraft in his Chiefdom.
And the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Kasama has threatened to ban the Paramount Chief from Holy Communion because of promoting witch finding in his area.
High placed sources confirmed today in a telephone interview about the creation of an illegal prison at the Chief’s palace in Mungwi district which is said to have been in existence since last February.
The sources disclosed that the illegal prison which is built within the palace premises has no toilet facility and suspected sorcerers are detained overnight. “Yes I can confirm to you that our Paramount Chief has established an illegal prison at his palace where people being accused of practicing witchcraft are being detained overnight and this has been going on for quite sometime now,” said the sources.
The sources explained that Chief Chitimukulu has himself allowed youths aged between 21 and 23 to conduct witch finding in his territory so as to get rid of sorcerers.
The sources revealed that witch finders were persecuting suspected wizards, mainly elderly people before dragging them to Chief retainers, who in turn put them in detention until the following morning when further witch hunting is conducted by a team of quack doctors appointed by the paramount Chief. The sources added that whilst at the palace, those accused of practicing witch craft are brought before a huge crowd that includes the Paramount Chief and a team of witch finders for further divination. “When you see the crowd, you may think it is the Republican President addressing a rally, but people have come to see witch hunting being conducted at the Chief’s palace,” remarked the sources. Once a team of quack doctors endorses that the accused truly practice witch craft, they were being ill treated and fined two cows before chasing them away from their villages, added the sources. The sources added that items being grabbed from the accused people were allegedly being shared between the Paramount Chief himself and the witch finders.
The sources observed that although the Bemba Chief was dividing part of the Northern Province by bringing quack doctors, he was unwell because he uses wheelchair and his sight is very bad because of the sugar disease. The sources said several villagers including one headman Mwalapata have been tortured and driven away form their respective homes and their whereabouts have remained unknown. The sources disclosed that Malole Member of Parliament Emmanuel Munaile was informed about the obtaining situation in Mungwi, but failed to travel to the area with the Police due to lack of transport.
The sources said the situation was very worrying because it might result in the deaths particularly the elderly people who were being accused of practicing witch craft because of their age. The sources further said during the Parish Council meeting held at Malole Catholic Church on June 22nd 2010, it was resolved that Chief Chitimukulu be banned from receiving Eucharist because he was dividing his subjects by allowing Quack doctors to conduct witch hunting in his area. The meeting also resolved to write to Northern Province permanent Secretary Mwalimu Simfukwe, Minister John Chinyanta and Mungwi district commissioner about Chief Chitimukulu’s ungodly behaviour. The sources said the Council meeting was attended by Malole Parish Priest Father Edward Chimbuleni. The Sources said the Catholic Church was very much worried with the traditional ruler involvement in the witch hunting because the practice was not only unchristian, but would bring divisions among the accused families. Efforts to get comments from area MP Munaile, Northern Province Police Chief Charles Lungu failed.>
So I'll admit this hardly reads like objective reporting. And, credit where credit is due, it seems that, as long as it's others doing the witchhunting, cowstealing, harming of old people, the Catholic church seems to be worried about it. The main point is that it's still ok, in the 21st Century, to persecute people for supposedly being Witches.
Picture found here.