Chiefs withdraw motion calling for recognizing witchcraft amid split

Zambian chiefs have failed to reach consensus and withdrawn a motion that was calling on the government to recognize the existence of witchcraft and sorcerers, Zambia media have reported.

The motion was presented during the session of the House of Chiefs which is a ‘parliament’ of traditional leaders by Chief Mukwikile from northern Zambia’s Chinsali district, the Post said.

The motion received mixed feelings from the traditional leaders as some supported it while others felt that if adopted, innocent people would lose lives, according to the Post.

One of the traditional leaders, Chief Simaamba from southern Zambia’s Siavonga district said witches and sorcerers who killed others were murderers who deserved to be punished.

Another traditional leader, Senior Chief Nsokolo of Mbala district in northern Zambia argued that if the government officially recognized the existence of witchcraft, many innocent lives would be lost.

But Chief Mukwile, who proposed the motion, said it was important that the government recognized witchcraft so that research could be carried out on how best cases could be handled.

He said the current Witchcraft Act worked against the victim instead of the culprit because whoever was complaining ended up being punished, adding that the Act should be amended to enable chiefs administer matters of witchcraft effectively without conflict.

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