John has worked for many years in Africa as an Anglican Missionary.
He is about to return to Tanzania for three months to work on a project with the Police Force in Dar es Salaam.
Tanzania is not a wealthy country and there is much corruption extending into the Public Service and Police.
In the community there is a form of corruption that invokes witchcraft:
The witchcraft is not the corruption— rather the corruption is accusing people of witchcraft.
There is sufficient belief in the community despite the law which provokes the population to believe any accusations and to banish or punish (even with limb-amputation or death) any of those accused.
Witchfinders line their pockets by attributing blame on any convenient neighbour for the misfortune of the person who pays him; people use witchfinders to gain power in the community by eliminating others from whom they perceive a threat.
They are much in demand at times of elections.
This means the population is always gripped by fear — fear of being accused and the ensuing consequence.
John is returning to train policemen how to handle the situations as they arise.
The crux of the response is not to denounce witchcraft as unscientific but rather keep asking the question “How do you know?” until each person is forced to conclude that he doesn’t know.
Hopefully that in the future people will be willing to make affidavits that permit people involved in the corruption to be charged in court.
John responded to a few questions from members on the details of his talk.