Botswana Traditional Practitioners Association has distanced itself from individuals who allegedly harvest body parts from innocent people whether dead or alive for potions and charms for purposes of attracting wealth, among other reasons.
In an interview with The Midweek Sun, Secretary General of the Association Bafedile Setlhare said while many Batswana still believe in traditional doctors, some unfortunately also associate traditional doctors with ritual killings.
According to Setlhare, missing persons' cases in Botswana are worrisome. He said in some cases victims are recovered but in others, they are not, but this should not necessarily mean that those who went missing have been killed for ritual purposes.
"Unless there is one traditional doctor who can prove that he or she killed such persons for rituals. If you could go around all traditional doctors, there is not any traditional doctor that can say he or she used human organs for rituals," Setlhare said.
Setlhare said ritual killings that are associated with traditional doctors tarnish their name and degrade traditional doctors. What most people do not know is that traditional doctors also fall victim to attacks from people they have crossed paths with in their trade.
“Attacks and use of body parts of people, regardless of the purpose cannot under any circumstances be considered an elemental part of any legitimate practice, whether linked to witchcraft or to traditional medicine,” he emphasised.
Such acts inherently constitute criminal activity and other human rights violations. Consequently, they cannot be justified on the basis of tradition, traditional medicine, or any other ground.
Setlhare said addressing deeply-rooted beliefs such as belief in the efficacy of human body parts in rituals and traditional medicine requires sensitising the community on the scientific explanation. Public education is needed to engage faith-based organisations and traditional leaders.
Meanwhile, Lobatse residents are still angered by the murder of Tlotso Karema who was killed by his stepfather Lovemore Sithole. Sithole appeared last week at Lobatse Magistrate Court pleading to be granted bail. Residents threatened to deal with Sithole if the court grants him bail on the 11th of August 2022.