Sorcery-related violence rising

Letters

THE controversial sorcery-related violence has escalated.
This is despite millions of kina injected through various government programmes to minimise it and even repealing the Sorcery Act 1971.
The government forgot the fact that sorcery, witchcraft and other cultural heritage are part of our society.
They do exist to this era, hence, our founding fathers who developed our very own constitution made no mistake to recognise Papua New Guinea Ways, which is the fifth of the five National Goals and Directive Principles which I quote below:
“We declare our fifth goal to be to achieve development primarily through the use of Papua New Guinean forms of social, political and economic organisation.
We accordingly call for —

  • a fundamental re-orientation of our attitudes and the institutions of government, commerce, education and religion towards Papua New Guinean forms of participation, consultation, and consensus, and a continuous renewal of the responsiveness of these institutions to the needs and attitudes of the People; and
  • Particular emphasis in our economic development to be placed on small-scale artisan, service and business activity; and
  • recognition that the cultural, commercial and ethnic diversity of our people is a positive strength, and for the fostering of a respect for, and appreciation of, traditional ways of life and culture, including language, in all their richness and variety, as well as for a willingness to apply these ways dynamically and creatively for the tasks of development; and,
  • Traditional villages and communities to remain as viable units of Papua New Guinean society, and for active steps to be taken to improve their cultural, social, economic and ethical quality.”

Our Government, while feeding from the advice of expatriate consultants and advisors, decided to say that sorcery was not real but a mere belief, hence, protecting those accused of performing sorcery.
This attitude reinforced the repealing of the Sorcery Act 1971 in 2013 which was a gross error that caused the escalation of sorcery-related violence.
The Sorcery Act 1971 had provisions to deal with sorcerers, but with the repealing of that Act now, is more or less defending the sorcerer.
My advice to the Government is to embrace our cultural identities and deal with it the PNG Way as prescribed in our emblem instead of trying to Westernise our society.
In Australia, I can divorce my wife if she is boring in bed, or if my wife is unfaithful to me.
She will still be my wife even if I am aware of her unfaithfulness.
However, we have a total different scenario in PNG, in which we deal with it and therefore we can deal with sorcery using the repealed Sorcery Act 1971.
To cut the long story short, it is a cause and effect situation here.
The measures taken by the Government are to solve the effect but not the cause.
Application of Section 299A of the Criminal Court Act to cater for the act of violence of sorcery accusation people is more or less trying to solve the effect.
The cause is the sorcerer and every Papua New Guinean would agree with me that sorcery is real and some deaths are sorcery-related deaths.
We need legislation to deal with sorcerers.
I may sound conservative and I understand changes of time and technologies call for changes in our legislation.
However, PNG is not developing with those changes, hence, sorcery-related violence is anticipated to inevitably escalate over time if our Government continues to implement the advice of foreigners.
Don’t forget: If someone is being accused of sorcery and is being tortured in Telefomin, police reinforcements to save the life of the accused will take a day or two to reach there.
By the time they’re at Telefomin, the accused should have been dead and/or buried already.
Let’s be realistic.

Molu Pass Dam
Waigani Rain Tree

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