When the social structure fails…
And indeed, the rise in witch-hunting is not random, it corresponds with deteriorating social conditions:
But it is not random either that it is a game of blaming women:
The combination of invocation of traditions to justify illegal activities, especially those involving the oppression of women with good old fashioned patriarchal rule and local "justice" is a toxic brew. That is why, as I have mentioned before, one should be skeptical of (usually anti-globalization) arguments that promote a return to the local as democratic ideal. Local communities can be major sites of oppression for minorities (see all my posts on the fate of albinos in Tanzania for instance) and women. The lack of oversight from national authorities can turn isolated communities into closed-off hells for those targeted for violence.