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Witchcraft bill in preparation

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Nimba County District #8 Rep. Larry Younquoi, has announced the preparation of a bill called “Witchcraft Bill,” that he says when passed, will do away with witch activities in Liberia and punish those involved in it.

Speaking Friday, 19 October on OK FM in Monrovia, Rep. Younquoi said he was mandated by his constituents to make witchcraft a criminal offense under the laws of Liberia. “I am speaking on behalf of the citizens of District 8 who have told me to pass a bill on the witchcraft that is affecting our people in this country”, he says.

Rep. Younquoi underscores the need for Liberians to uphold the positive values of their culture, stressing that “Article 5(b) of our constitution says we will uphold the positive values of our culture”.
The Nimba County lawmaker indicates that he is posed to bring this bill on the floor so that it can be debated and passed into law by the 54th Legislature.

According to him, witchcraft activities are negatively affecting this nation, adding that he has researched the constitution and seen reliable sources in it that motivate him to bring it on the table.
Witchcraft is considered a spiritual, complex and secret society that cannot be monitored, proven or evaluated by scientific methods.

Witchcraft is said to have made many people to live in fear and evil suspicions. Most deaths of infants for instance, are attributed to witchcraft attacks as well as deaths of adults who die mysteriously.Many chronic diseases are also thought to be due to the work of witches.

Some hold witches responsible for acts of mismanagement or carelessness and all sorts of bad behavioral practices are attributed to the schemes of witches here. Some say the relatives of good witches prosper, supposedly due to the benevolent spiritual operations of the good witches in their families.

But it is thought also that the relatives of evil witches suffer poverty, diseases, failures, disgrace, and all sorts of afflictions as the result of the diabolical spiritual operations of the bad witches in their families.

Despite the fact that witchcraft cannot be proven by scientific method, it is an activity known all over the world, ever since the ancient time. The Holy Bible, in Exodus 22:18, says: “Thy shall suffer not a witch to live”.Liberia will not be the first country to have passed such a law in the world, should Rep. Younquoi succeed with the passage of his bill.

A similar act has been in existence in Great Britain and in South Africa, to name few.Religious tensions in England during the 16th and 17th centuries resulted in the introduction of serious penalties for witchcraft.

Henry VIII’s Act of 1542 (33 Hen. VIII c. 8) was the first to define witchcraft as a felony, a crime punishable by death and the forfeiture of the convicted felon’s goods and chattels.But this law was repelled in 1957 by the Witchcraft Suppression Act 3.

Ascertaining that someone is involved in witch activities remains a challenge, as that cannot be proven by scientific method and the sole method called “Sassywood” known in Liberia is now prohibited.

But the Nimba lawmaker may have a solution.According to him, those who voluntarily confess that they are responsible for the plights that are affecting their family members, their communities or the country in general must be punished.

“My people gave me this mandate during one of the town hall meetings we have been having [in] recent time; and we are traditional people. So there is no doubt about it,” he says.Rep. Younquoi is convinced that if this bill comes on the floor, it will be passed because this is a national issue that no one can deny.

He concludes that “Liberia has already established the traditional counsel that we put in over seventy-five to hundred thousand every time to rule this country; we are just taking it to one more level”.

By Valery Guhena–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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