A family in Msundwe, Lilongwe, has been locked indoors for a year for fear of their lives after their religious beliefs enraged people in the area.
Police in Msundwe and Lilongwe Social Welfare Office confirmed that Dennis Dismus and his family stayed indoors from August 1 2020 to August 23 221 after an angry mob threatened to stone them to death for spreading bizarre religious beliefs.
In an interview this week, Dismus said he received a revelation from God that a strange tribe from a far away country would occupy and take over Msundwe. As such, he told people to stop investing and burying their dead in the area.
Msundwe Police officer Themba Changaya said people in the area are allegedly accusing Dismus, 52, his wife Esinele, 51 and two daughters Edes, 20 and Flonny, 16, of practising occultism and witchcraft and threatened to deal with them.
He said: “The threats caused the family to lock themselves up and they remained indoors for about a year. But on August 23 2021, the villagers were mobilising to storm into the house to bring them out.
“This caused village head Msundwe to report the matter to police. We rushed to the scene of the incident and found the family locked in the house and looking malnourished. In fact, they were unable to walk on their own.”
Changaya said the commotion in Msundwe forced the police to transfer the family to Mpingu Police Unit.
“But the angry mob planned to follow them to Mpingu Police Unit so we also moved them to Area 3 Police Station here in Lilongwe,” he said.
At the station, Dismus said the Covid-19 pandemic was sent by God to change the way people live.
“God told me to tell people to stop burying the dead in Msundwe as a tribe from a far away country would soon occupy the area,” he said.
Dismus said he also discouraged people from investing in the area since God would soon take them to another area.
He said: “Instead of listening and following God’s instructions, they started calling us witches and threatened to stone us to death.
“In fact, some people started throwing stones on the roof of our house. This is why we decided to stay in-doors for our safety.”
On her part, Esinele said people were angered because of the Covid-19 message God gave her husband.
She said: “They were also not amused that when our daughter died we did not inform anyone in our area.
“We are messengers of God and we obey His command. When our daughter passed on, God ordered us not to tell anyone. So, we did as He commanded.”
Esinele said the first few months they had food, but later, they survived on water.
“We were afraid of being stoned if we went out to look for food,” she said.
Esinele said their relatives deserted them and never bothered to check on them.
The family’s first born, Robert Dennis, said he was saddened to learn about the incident.
He said he was chased out of his parents’ house because he could not follow their religious beliefs.
Said Robert: “I was chased in 2018. In 2019, I visited them when I had learnt that my sister had died.
“My parents blamed me for being responsible for her death and they told me never to step my foot in their compound again. I obliged.
“This is why I never bothered to check on them when they went missing.”
The police referred the family to Lilongwe District Social Welfare Office.
The district’s social welfare officer Jean Nthengwe confirmed handling the issue.
“I can confirm we had the issue, but we have handed over the family to their immediate relations. I will not disclose the place for their safety,” she said.