- Task force boss Edna Kagwana who is also the Administration executive said they are expected to table their report in a month.
- Governor Ongwae formed the task force following a public uproar over the lynching of the four women on suspicion of being witches.
A task force formed by Kisii Governor James Ongwae to investigate the lynching of suspected witches will start public hearings today.
Task force boss Edna Kagwana, who is also the Administration executive, said they are expected to table their report in a month.
“We shall start with Marani, which is the scene of the lynching of suspected witches and proceed to all subcounty headquarters.
"Those unable to attend the public hearings can send their submissions through memorandum and questionnaires,” Kangwana said.
They expect submissions from scholars, religious leaders, Law Society of Kenya, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, media, Abagusii Culture and Development Council, alternative medicine providers and experts in Gusii culture.
The KNCHR though the chief executive officer Bernard Mogesa hailed the governor for inaugurating a task force to establish the circumstances under which poor and elderly persons are victimised and accused of witchcraft.
The 17-member task force will examine circumstances that led to the extra judicial killings of elderly persons at Marani on allegations of witchcraft.
The assessment entails identifying drivers of the phenomenon, forms of response, the role of the youth in the killings.
Also, social stratification of the suspicions in terms of age, education level, wealth, gender and health status.
While launching the task force, Ongwae said the issue of witchcraft was being used as a scapegoat to victimise some members of the community especially the elderly and widows, for ulterior motives.
“It is unfortunate that in the 21st century as a civilised society, we are still steeped in the archaic and mythical beliefs on fabled witches in our midst without any evidence,” the governor said.
Governor Ongwae formed the task force following a public uproar over the lynching of the four women on suspicion of being witches.
Three of the women Sindege Mayaka, Agnes Ototo and Jemimah Mironga were buried during an emotional ceremony at Nyagonyi primary school. Another victim Sigara Onkware was buried two weeks ago.
Kisii deputy governor Joash Maangi who attended the burial said, “Nobody has a right to end the life of anyone. We condemn this and challenge the state to ensure perpetrators are brought to book.”
Marani assistant County Commissioner Julius Rono said they will not relent until the perpetrators are nabbed and prosecuted.
Human rights lawyer Harun Ndubi said, “I have never seen a witch. It is against human rights and all laws to kill someone.
"Why do we have many churches if we still believe in witchcraft? Why don’t we hear of these things in settlements of the rich? Why is it common among the poor? Ndubi asked.
(Edited by Bilha Makokha)