We've blogged before about witches -- mainly with respect to how economic conditions affect witch hunting. Writing for Worldcrunch, Rodrigue Mangwa investigates the practice and explains the economics of witch trials in the Congo:
It should be noted that the witchcraft trials are not free, and are an important source of revenue for the tribal chief. Before the dispute can be brought to the court, each party has to pay a mandatory fee of $200 – the price of a cow – whether they can afford it or not.
The headmaster of a primary school situated in Rubanga, 10 kilometers from the village of Lemera, says the witchcraft trials are just a way to exploit the local poor farmers in order to generate revenue for the tribal chief. “It would be naïve to think this is a real test of witchcraft. The tribal judges, who are pawns of the Mwami, are bribed to hand out false verdicts,” he says.
(HT: Marginal Revolution)