The county government of Kisii has established a task force to probe the recent killings of people suspected of practicing witchcraft.
Kisii Governor James Ongwae said the taskforce, through the County Department of Culture, has express terms of reference to find out and determine the extent of deep-seated superstitions that have seen the elderly murdered on suspicion of witchcraft.
The taskforce comprises county staff and key stakeholders drawn from the public and human rights organisations.
It will carry out investigations and report back to the governor’s office in three weeks’ time for further action.
This comes after the mob lynching of four women in Marani Sub-County, Kisii last week.
Sindege Mayaka (83), Jemima Mironga (60), Sigara Onkware (62) and Agnes Ototo (57) – Mr Ongwae were killed on suspicion that they practiced witchcraft.
Governor Ongwae condemned their killing terming them senseless.
“I condemn the incident in the strongest terms possible. Indeed, there is no reason whatsoever to lose precious lives due to mob justice on flimsy grounds such as suspicion of witchcraft,” said Mr Ongwae.
“We have legal mechanisms to deal with suspects of any nature. The women died in a shameful manner at the hands of fellow villagers,” he added.
Governor Ongwae said the county government will foot expenses for post-mortem and burial for the four women.
“It is unfortunate that in the 21st century, we are still steeped in mythical beliefs which have since outlived their relevance…We grew up hearing fairy tales of witchcraft but not once in our lifetimes have we actually come across witches,” he said.
Adding: “As Gusii community, we will end up picking the loathsome witchcraft stereotype in front of the world.”