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MANZINI - Government is not interested in having an audience with the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC traditional healer, Guensta Ikartachi.

The news come after government stopped the much-anticipated spells and magic competition for local tinyanga (traditional healers and witchdoctors) which Ikartachi was proposing to host in the country.

The message stopping the competition was conveyed through a press statement which was released by Government’s Spokesperson Percy Simelane on Monday.

“Government has said what needed to be said and it does not owe any inyanga any audience. We want nothing to do with the competition and the people behind it,” Simelane said yesterday


Government argued that Section 75 to 80 of the Crimes Act of 1889 of Eswatini criminalised witchcraft, sorcery or the practice of voodoo as an offence which was also punishable by law.  Meanwhile, in a bid to push government to reconsider its decision of stopping his intended spells and magic competition for tinyanga, Ikartach has raised a point of law.

He mentioned that the whole concept was not aimed at causing injury to any third party and that according to his interpretation of the law, the competition was in compliance with the Crimes Act of 1889.

His argument was that it was targeting mainly traditional healers (tinyanga), not witchdoctors.
Again, he said the definition of witchdoctors, according to Section 77 (4) of the Crimes Act of 1889, does not cover traditional healers, who were the main target for the competition.

Furthermore, he said the same Act defines a witchdoctor or witch finder as a person described in siSwati as umngoma or isangoma or inyanga yokuphengula.   Ikartachi maintained that even so, he would respect the decision of the government of Eswatini but mentioned that one should not overlook Section 23 (2) of the Constitution. He said this section of the Constitution states that except with the free consent of that person, an individual shall not be hindered in the enjoyment on the freedom of conscience and for the purpose of this section, freedom of conscience includes that of thought and religion. He said this also includes freedom to change religion or belief and liberty of worship either alone or in community with others.

He argued that in this case, the competition was intended to strengthen the belief in traditional healing. “The law prohibiting the competition; Crimes Act of 1889, is archaic and cannot supersede the Constitution. This is because every rule inconsistent with the Constitution is null and void as per Section 2 (1),” he said. The above section says; “The Constitution is the supreme law of Eswatini and if any other law is inconsistent with it that other Act shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void,”

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