Is there a ‘bright’ side to witchcraft?

“Whether ghosts exist or not, our work has been made easy ... I wish there were ghosts all over the country,’’.
Artefact from a witchcraft museum
Artefact from a witchcraft museum

“Whether ghosts exist or not, our work has been made easy ... I wish there were ghosts all over the country,’’.

That was said by a police officer based at the Kenyan port city of Mombasa at the hype of the Kenyan post election violence. It is amazing how witchcraft can turn out to work ‘for good’.

In what turned out to be a somewhat comical sideshow amidst the mayhem of post election violence, Mombasa residents started returning goods they had looted from shops for fear of being witched. Most of the ‘looters’ were returning the goods at night to hide their embarrassment.

Television footage then showed fearful, if not shameful, looters and their accomplices returning beds, sofa sets, planks of timber and other items after rumours that victims had deployed witch doctors to punish the thieves started circulating.

Police officials confirmed the report, saying witchcraft had facilitated their business of tracking down crooks. But welcoming the move, police did not arrest anyone who had willingly returned the stolen goods but gave an ultimatum to all others to follow suit.

Residents of this coastal city in Kenya are believed to have a strong believe in the power of witchcraft and say witch doctors have supernatural powers to invoke or revoke evil spirits.

Some of the looters were reported not to either urinate or pass stool, while others` stomachs swell to death.

The Constitution of Kenya provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respects this right in practice; however, while groups generally were allowed to worship freely, the Government at times interfered with other activities by religious groups.

The Constitution does not provide for any official state religion.

Practices and beliefs that have been termed “witchcraft” do not constitute a single identifiable religion, however these beliefs do generally involve religious elements dealing with spirits, the afterlife, magic and ritual Witchcraft is generally characterized by its use of magic.

Probably the most obvious characteristic of a witch is the ability to cast a spell, a “spell” being the word used to signify the means employed to accomplish a magical action.

A spell could consist of a set of words, a formula or verse, or a ritual action, or any combination of these. 

Like elsewhere in Africa, even some Rwandans still believe in the powers of witch doctors and black magic in influencing the course of social events.

Reports of an article deprived from uganet website, claim that once in 2003, the Ugandans were defeated by the Rwandan National football team and the Ugandan coach claimed that the Rwandan goal keeper used witchcraft.

Uganda’s Argentine coach then Pedro Pablo Pasculli, was sure Uganda lost to Rwanda because of witchcraft
“I am still shocked by this witchcraft that I witnessed for the first time in my football career.

I have played in South America and witnessed many things in football, but this was too much for me,” said Pasculli.
“This witchcraft issue disorganized my whole team because they were so taken up and failed to concentrate,”.  he added.

Most people think that witchcraft only exists in Africa but clearly the argentine coach must have proved otherwise.

According to BBC News dated 2006, Zimbabwe lifted the ban on the practice of witchcraft, repealing colonial-era legislation that made it a crime to accuse someone of being a witch or wizard.

The new law recognized the existence of the supernatural and effectively legitimized many practices of traditional healers, but only if they are used for good. Often, people accused of witchcraft are poor, they may be deformed and they may make others feel guilty and therefore angry at them.

But the supposed witch can also be the opposite of a loser. He may be someone too beautiful, too clever, and too successful.

There is usually a great fear of displaying one’s ability to build a remarkable house, dress smartly, or do well in school.

Research by students in the Lands Institute of Dar-es-Salaam showed that witchcraft beliefs were an obstacle to development in the northern district of Handeni in Tanzania.

karuthum@gmail.com

 

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