Source: Nyasa Times
An elderly woman, Agnes Mkwanda, was on Tuesday beaten to death at her house in Lilongwe after she had reacted to a child for accusing her of practicing witchcraft.
Kanengo Police confirmed the incident saying Mkwanda was brutally murdered at her house at Kaombalichero Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Chimutu in Lilongwe and that her suspected assailant was in custody.
A spokesperson for Kanengo Police, Salome Zgambo Chibwana, said the police gathered that people in the village had been accusing Mkwanda of practicing witchcraft and that on a material day one child from the village called her a witch which angered her.
The elderly woman, who the police suspect was in her 70s, reacted by beating up the child which in turn angered his father, Elifala Dzimbiri, 37, when it was reported to him.
"The suspect, Dzimbiri, in his anger, went to the elderly woman’s house and he beat her up using sticks and he also stepped on her chest several times until she died," explained Chibwana.
Postmortem done at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) indicated that Agnes’ death was due to severe injuries in the head, and chest where there were multiple rib fractures, according to Chibwana.
Dzimbiri, who hails from the same village and T/A as Mkwanda, is expected to appear in court soon to answer murder charges.
Agnes' death is reminiscent of the bloodbath in Chimbalanga Village in Neno in January 2016 where four elderly people of one family were stoned and beaten to death over witchcraft allegations.
The four were accused after a 17-year-old girl of the same family was struck to death by lightning.
The incident was condemned in strongest terms by human rights advocates and President Prof. Peter Mutharika personally called for thorough investigation and arrest of the culprits saying his "government will not tolerate any victimization of the elderly people in this country."
Cases of accusing the elderly, or any age group, of witchcraft, continue to grow despite the existence of the 1911 Witchcraft Act which criminalizes the tendency.