17 October 2011

Uganda: Mayor Fuels Fight Between Balokole, Witchdoctors

Masindi — Born-again Christians (Balokole) and witchdoctors in Masindi District are trading accusations, with Christians seeking the municipal authorities to ban operations of witchdoctors.

Disagreements started last week when the chairperson of traditional herbalists, Mr Mugisa Mayanja, went on a local radio to reportedly mobilise his people against 'evil acts'. But the comments irritated Mr Joshua Amanyire, the mayor, who later went on air and reminded witchdoctors that their stay in town is illegal since they were expelled in 2009.

Mr Amanyire, a born-again Christian, ordered members of born-again churches to break and burn any signpost of witchdoctors on sight.

In response, Mr Mayanja also ordered traditional healers to retaliate by attacking born-again churches that implement the mayor's orders. He said the Constitution recognises them and their activities are legal, adding that there is a difference between traditional healers, herbalists, sorcerers and cannibals.

Mr Mayanja accuses the municipal council authorities of remaining silent on new churches that he alleges practice homosexuality. He says if witchdoctors are to be chased from the municipality, several churches should also be closed.

The decision to expel them came at a time when most schools in Masindi were affected by evil spirits. Amanyire claimed that the spirits were being sent by witchdoctors so that they are paid to exorcise them.

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