May 28, 2013
We have said a lot about the use of ICT to expose government instigated brutality against its own people, especially the case of a Zimbabwean whistle blower
. This chilling and nauseating story, which sounds like fiction from one of Chinua Achebe’s novels, is about ordinary African citizens murdering other ordinary citizens in the most horrific manner imaginable.
Five Kenyans from Kisii Nyamataro village near the border with Uganda were slowly burned to death merely because they were suspected of witchcraft. The mere suspicion of witchcraft was enough evidence for mob rule to sentence the young men and women to horrific and slow painful death without any recourse to any form of justice. The five were brutally assaulted with sticks, kicked and set on fire to roast slowly to death, all captured on video. The most disturbing aspect of the “execution” is that dozens of villagers, including respected priests of the Christian faith, watched on without lifting a finger to stop the brutality.
I have heard stories of suspected witches being set on fire in Africa in the past, but it was always second hand information which I took with a pinch of salt. I have always maintained that those stories were from more primitive periods of our history, many decades ago. This particular incident, captured on video and posted on YouTube
, demonstrates that the issue is contemporary and that we have a very serious problem that should be addressed as a matter of urgency.
The exposure of the disturbing incident on YouTube also triggered a manhunt by the responsible authorities, leading to the arrest of several of the perpetrators. My recommendation is to arrest everybody who was watching and charge them with conspiracy to commit murder. I keep wondering if any arrests were going to be made if the video was not captured and posted on YouTube. How many other similar horrific murders have taken place in Kisii Nyamataro, Kenya, East Africa or the rest of the African continent that have gone unprosecuted? My gut feeling is that hundreds, if not thousands, of Africans have perished under similar circumstances because the incidents were never exposed.
I believe that together, as African people, we can take some steps and embrace ICT to curb some of these barbaric behaviours in our cherished motherland. If everyone with a camera in their mobile phone can make it a point of duty to capture such evil acts and expose them on the Internet, we will be on our way to eradicating such horrific evil in our midst. The use of cameras to capture criminal activity has had a profound impact on the reduction of crime in other parts of the world and we can do it too in Africa using the mobile phone camera which is quickly becoming the most accessible form of imaging technology.
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