By Lisa Tembo
Following the appeal supported by Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA), The High Court in Blantyre (Malawi) has today ruled in Favor of a 66 year old woman Eliza Maduwazi Davison who was facing 2 years of jail time.
Eliza Davison was convicted on 15th August 2016 by the Third Grade Magistrate court under section 6 of the Witchcraft Act for representing herself to be a wizard and was sentenced to two years of imprisonment. Magistrate James Jakalasi found the woman guilty after a confession stating that she tried to kill her grandson Rafael Chimgama aged 25 by witchcraft or magically inserting an insect in his throat which chocked him and instantly made him stop to speak or drink water.
CHREAA offered to help Davison appeal against her sentence on the basis that some of the country’s laws conflict each other and that the woman might have then pleaded guilty due to ignorance. For instance section 6 of the Witchcraft Act; chapter 7 of The Laws of Malawi says “Any person who by his /her statements or actions represents him/her to be a wizard or witch or as having or exercising the power of witchcraft shall be reliable to a fine of 50 pounds or 10 years imprisonment with hard labour” but at the same time the constitution of Malawi says “anyone who accuses another of practicing witchcraft should be punished.