September 1, 2012


Witchcraft in Kenya: government told to leave handling of witches to local elders who have “brilliant ways of dealing” with witches.

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Witchcraft in Kenya: trouble as govt. told to leave it to locals

Witchcraft in Kenya: trouble as govt. told to leave it to locals

When a bar owner in Machakos was robbed of Sh80,000 did he call in the police? Not a bit of it. He immediately sent for a Tanzanian witchdoctor (apparently they are very good – much better than our guys) who solved the problem in a short spell (or was that after a short spell?).

The bar owner gathered his staff about him it was reported recently in The Star, and warned of the most terrible repercussions if his money was not returned.


One of those present said; “We saw a flame emerge from a soda bottle and cycle [the Forum assumes he meant ‘circle’] over us before it returned to the bottle and extinguished”, whereupon, it seems, the barmen started ‘behaving strangely’ and ‘eating soil and other objects murmuring incoherently’.

Well most of us at some time or another have been in a bar like that but it seems the witchdoctor’s work did the trick. The bar staff ran around shouting in a confused state (we definitely know that bar!) and confessed to stealing the cash. The police were called, three men arrested and ‘locked up’ in Machakos police station.


All’s well that ends well as they say, although quite how a judge is going to view spell-induced confessions is another matter. Joking apart, however, and aside from the issue of Tanzanian witchdoctors’ taking Kenyan jobs, the subject of witchcraft, ‘witches’ and how they are treated in Kenya, is a serious issue.

Only two weeks ago an elderly man in Homa Bay had to be saved from the mob who beat him and were about to burn him to death after he was accused of witchcraft, bewitching two people and killing two others through the use of his dark science.


Other ‘witches’ have not been so lucky. Last week two cases were reported on the same day, of ‘witches’ being killed.

In Dida, Ganze District, a Thomas Barawa was hacked to death by a mob a month after his wife had also been killed by local people, both accused of being witches.

In Nyamindi village and elderly woman, Nancy Micere, was also killed by a mob of young men on suspicion of being a witch.


Recently a House committee, the joint committee on National Security and Equal Opportunity, called for the government to enforce the Witchcraft Act ‘to deter people in the Coastal Region from practicing witchcraft’.

Malindi District Cultural Association secretary Karisa Mwarandu however, argued during the Judiciary marches week at Pwani University College on 23 August, that the question of witchcraft and how to respond to it is best left to local elders and family members. Mwarandu argued that the government does not have the required mechanisms to establish if someone is a witch or not whereas local elders do, apparently.

“Our forefathers invented brilliant ways of dealing with the matter”, said Mwarandu. “We as Mijikenda elders have our own mechanisms of resolving conflicts”, he added.


Following the Thomas Barawa attack, local councillor Teddy Mwambire urged the government to help community leaders to save the lives of elderly people accused of being witches and to develop community projects that will sensitise people over the dangers of killing suspected witches.

Most of the so-called ‘witches’ killed are elderly people. Most of the people doing the killing are young people, mainly young men.

This is the year 2012, says the Kenya Forum, in the 21st century. There are no witches and old people in Kenya should not be dying on charges of witchcraft. The government and local communities must educate young people to stop this obscenity.

P.S., OK, witchcraft is a serious issue, but the Kenya Forum could not resist…

After a few years of married life, a man finds that he is unable to perform. He goes to his doctor who tries a few things, but nothing seems to work. So he goes to see a witchdoctor. The witchdoctor says, “I can cure this”. He throws a white powder in a flame and there is a flash with billowing blue smoke. Then he says, “This is powerful magic, but you can only use it once a year. All you have to do is say “123” and it shall rise for as long as you wish!”

The man then asks, “What happens when it’s over and I don’t want to continue?”

“All you or your partner has to say is “1234,” and it will go down”, replied the witchdoctor, “But be warned: It will not work again for another year.”

The man goes home and that night he is ready to surprise his wife. He showers, shaves, and puts on his most exotic shaving lotion. After he gets into bed and is lying next to her, he says, “123” and suddenly he gets an erection, just as the witchdoctor said.

His wife was facing the other way and turns over and says, “What did you say “123” for?


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