Analysts have faulted President Peter Mutharika’s sentiments that he will let Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa deal with the blood sucking saga.
During a rally the President held in Phalombe on Monday as part of his tour of areas affected by the saga, he said he would leave Ngolongoliwa to deal with the issue as it is connected with witchcraft.
Reacting to the statement, Chancellor College law professor Edge Kanyongolo said Mutharika might have said this to assuage the hot tempers of people in affected areas, adding that such a complex issue cannot be dealt with in that manner.
“I think his [the President’s] reference to Ngolongoliwa [may have been] is a way of trying to be a little diplomatic just to assuage the hot tempers of the crime. I don’t think he meant it seriously that government is going to rely on witchcraft to deal with the situation,” he said.
Kanyongolo, however, commended government’s approach to hear testimonies from the victims.
Commenting on the same issue, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) executive director Timothy Mtambo said Mutharika’s statement is limiting other people from doing their part in containing the problem which has so far led to seven deaths.
He said the blood sucking issue requires the intervention of various stakeholders.
“To say that Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa alone will deal with the issue is wrong because it discourages others from helping in getting to the bottom of it. This is becoming a national crisis. Why not also involving religious leaders to intervene? Government should involve all stakeholders to stamp out this problem,” said Mtambo.
Mutharika visited Mulanje and Phalombe last week to address people on the issue and hear testimonies of the said victims of the saga.
Although the President linked the issue to witchcraft, Malawi laws do not recognise the practice.
In his response, Ngolongoliwa assured the President that something miraculous would happen within two weeks.
The saga, which has stirred tension and panic in Mulanje, Phalombe, Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Nsanje and parts of Blantyre, has led some development partners to withdraw their operations from affected districts. Seven people have been killed for being suspected to be bloodsuckers.