Accused of Witchcraft and Murdered for Land

Accused of Witchcraft and Murdered for Land
BBC Farmer Tambala Jefwa was left with one eye after an assault

Revealing the Horror: Kilifi Coast, Kenya, Victims of Elderly People Accused of Witchcraft and Murdered
The disturbing problem of savage assaults and even murders perpetrated against elderly people accused of witchcraft along the Kilifi coast of Kenya is explored in a disturbing BBC Africa Eye program. The study delves into the troubling facts behind these charges and exposes the true reasons behind these horrific crimes.

Sadly, Tambala Jefwa’s Situation
A man named Tambala Jefwa, who is 74 years old, has gone through unfathomable pain. Sidi, his wife, describes the brutal assaults he endured and shows the wounds that still exist on his body. The first attack nearly killed him, while the second one blinded him in one eye. Witch hunts disrupted their tranquil lifestyle 80 kilometers inland from Malindi. These charges, however, were only a cover for a darker family land battle, according to the couple. The Jefwas, who own more than 30 acres of land, believe that the assaults were motivated by jealousy and greed instead of superstition.

Accusations of Witchcraft: A Lethal Justification
Many African tribes have long-established beliefs in superstition and witchcraft. But in some regions of South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi, and Kenya, these beliefs have been used as a weapon to excuse the killing of old people, mostly for their land. An old person is murdered along the Kilifi coast every week under the pretext of charges of witchcraft, according to a report called “The Aged on Edge” published by the Kenyan human rights organization Haki Yetu. Many families plan these murders to remove hurdles to property inheritance, according to Julius Wanyama, a program officer at Haki Yetu. Older males are easy prey in these areas since land ownership is usually passed down through family stories rather than official titles.

Sidi Jefwa shows the scars left by the attacks on her husband

Protective Sanctuary for Victims
The Malindi District Association has opened a senior rescue center in reaction to the rising violence. This sanctuary provides a haven for about 30 elderly people who have been assaulted and are unable to live on their property. One of them is Katana Chara, a 63-year-old man who was attacked violently in his bedroom. Because of the attack, he is now utterly reliant on others to carry out even the most fundamental of duties, as he lost both hands above the elbow and one at the wrist. Chara is convinced that the underlying reason behind the assault on her husband was his precious six-acre beachfront property. She is accused of witchcraft when another man’s child died.

Sought Justice in the Face of Impunity
Justice will not be served, no matter how terrible these crimes are. Activist Julius Wanyama relentlessly champions victims like Chara, but prosecutions are extremely rare. In an interview with BBC Africa Eye, a former hitman admitted to killing at least 20 individuals for a sum of 50,000 Kenyan shillings, or around $400. He spilled the beans about how land grabs motivate family members to plan and carry out these murders. In a report submitted to the UN by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the paper emphasized that land acquisition is a driving force behind these killings, particularly in periods of economic crisis like as famines and droughts.

The Jefwas believe family members were behind the attacks

The Decline of Traditional Values
Because of their age and wealth of experience, the elderly have long been held in high esteem in African societies. Sadly, fear and violence have supplanted this regard in Kilifi. To make themselves look younger, many elderly people color their hair in an effort to ward off potential predators. A local problem has become a national emergency due to the never-ending barrage of accusations and assaults. Kenya is in danger of losing its “live archives” — the priceless knowledge and experiences of its senior population — if this tendency persists, according to Wanyama.

In summary
A study by BBC Africa Eye reveals the harsh realities that the elderly in Kilifi, Kenya, encounter. Brutal attacks and deaths are occurring as a result of the manipulation of accusations of witchcraft to rationalize land grabs. Tambala Jefwa and Katana Chara are just two survivors whose tales highlight how critical it is to take immediate measures to safeguard the elderly and tackle the underlying issues that contribute to this violence. In addition to endangering lives, this problem tears at the very fabric of our culture, causing us to lose sight of the importance of honoring and caring for our elders.


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