By SARAH MWANZA –
A SIXTY-YEAR-OLD woman of Lusaka’s Kabulonga residential area has appealed to the Government to make witchcraft accusation a criminal offence rather than a civil matter.
Bertha Musonda, who on two occasions has fallen victim of witchcraft accusations, said a lot of elderly persons had continued to be killed by mobs on allegations that they were practising the vice.
She said for some time now, she had suffered at the hands of her second-born daughter, Brenda, once a private secretary to the late President Michael Sata, who had continued to accuse her of practicing witchcraft.
Ms Musonda said she twice sued her own daughter for defamation of character, but the court only ordered her to pay for damages, which she easily did, but this has not stopped Brenda from calling her mother a witch.
She said in 2013, she first dragged her daughter to Chilenje Local Court over the same witchcraft allegations where she was ordered to compensate her with K2,000 and apologise to her for the false accusation but she refused to apologise.
Ms Musonda said since the K2,000 Brenda was ordered to pay was nothing to her, she easily paid the money, but continued to call her mother a witch, accusing her of being responsible for the death of her father, Ms Musonda’s husband.
“We have seen a lot of people being killed just because their relatives labelled them as witches or wizards. It is time we broke the silence and demanded for justice as elderly people,” Ms Musonda said.
“It is a pity to see our children whom we gave birth to disrespect us and incite people to kill us like animals.”
Ms Musonda further said recently she decided to visit her daughter at her home in State House camp but upon seeing her mother, Brenda started sprinkling anointing oil all over her body while screaming:
“Burn by Holy Ghost fire, burn by Holy Ghost fire you miserable witch”.
Ms Musonda said she tried to reason with her but her daughter continued sprinkling anointing oil on her, forcing her mother to seek refuge in the toilet from where she called the police who later came to rescue her.
After the event, Ms Musonda once again decided to sue her daughter for defamation of character at the Lusaka Boma Local Court hoping that she would be given a stiffer punishment.
But to Ms Musonda’s disappointment, her daughter was only asked to compensate her with K4,000 and was told by the court that there was nothing else they could do because defamation was a civil matter which did not attract stiffer punishment.
“Defaming someone, especially accusing them of practicing witchcraft, should be a criminal offence as that’s the only way to save the elderly folk from being killed by young people,” Ms Musonda said.