Community Wellness Africa offers psychosocial support to families of elderly women killed in Kisii, Kenya
CWA E-Newsletter | 31 October 2021
On 17th October 2021, four elderly women in Marani Sub-county, Kisii County, were burnt to death on allegations of practicing witchcraft. Several NGOs including Community Wellness Africa, CBOs, and the county government of Kisii condemned the killings. Police have arrested four suspects in connection with the killings.
On Sunday, 30th October 2021, Community Wellness Africa visited and offered psychological support to the families of the victims.
Such incidents of killing older adults on allegations of practicing witchcraft are on the rise in Kenya. One of such cases occurred in 2008 in Nyakeo Village in Kisii County where eight women and three men were set ablaze on grounds of practicing witchcraft. Similar incidents of violence towards the elderly have continued despite the government’s efforts to stop them. In 2018, a 77-year-old father of six from Baricho village in Magarini, Kilifi County, escaped death twice at the hands of his family members who claimed he was a witch.
Community Wellness Africa offers psychosocial support to families of elderly women killed in Kisii
Now, the Kisii County government is taking steps to address the recurring violence against the elderly in the county. Kisii county governor, James Ongwae, has appointed a task force whose mandate is to find the root cause of killings of senior citizens in the name of witchcraft, and come up with ways of preventing such occurrences in the future.
During the visit by the staff from Community Wellness Africa, the families of the victims condemned the heinous act meted on their loved ones. Tension, feelings of vengeance, and feeling stigmatized by the community are some of the feelings that the members of the deceased families expressed. The psychological counselor from Community Wellness Africa provided counseling to the affected family members who embraced the need for psychosocial support to help them cope with the tragic events.
Community Wellness Africa has planned for follow-up visits with the families to offer further psychological support. The organization also seeks to work closely with the community and the task force formed by the Kisii County government to find a lasting solution to prevent further violence against our elderly community members .