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Witchcraft crimes on the rise

It has recently been reported that in a rural area of Zimbabwe three children aged 2, 5 and 10 died and their deaths are allegedly due to witchcraft.

It is common knowledge that rural townships are governed by their own sacred laws enforced by a chief ‘sabhuku’ of that area but more often than not the fairness of these laws has often been questioned.

The story behind these little children’s deaths has been said to have resulted due to a debacle that occurred when a man in the area lost three of his chicks when these three recently deceased children were chasing them. As retaliation he openly said each chick lost will be represented by one child and shortly after these three children passed away.

Reports of the man having admitted to this atrocious crime were made and is believed to have been fined two cattle as punishment. A follow up by members of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) however has resulted in the accused denying having committed this ‘crime’ and rather blaming the mother of the deceased children of bathing them with sulphur.

As unbelievable as some of these stories are, crimes using witchcraft are very common amongst African tradition and studies in Spiritism done in the US and Europe have established conclusively the existence of a spiritual realm ruled by wizards and witches.

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For years Zimbabweans had advocated for the amendment of the Witchcraft suppression Act which finally took place in 2006 in an effort to allow African culture to develop. Nonetheless, the question still remains; how can these crimes ever be tried in the justice department when evidence is the alma mater of our Zimbabwean judicial system? A fact which allows most crimes associated with witchcraft unpunished.

In my opinion if witchcraft continues to be an unaddressed plague amongst people, more and more societies will continue to take the law into their own hands resulting only in unexplained chaos.

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