Kenya: Kaya Elders Conduct 'Special Prayers' Against Road Accidents

Transport along the Malindi -Mombasa highway was paralyzed for hours on Friday after Mijikenda Kaya elders blocked the road at Kizingo area for a special cleansing ritual to prevent accidents.

The Kizingo area has been marked as a blackspot following several accidents, with the recent being the fatal crash between two busses on April 8, that killed 15 people.

The elders, who converged at the accident scene dressed in traditional attire, conducted special prayers to appease the gods, ask for their forgiveness, and cast away the bad spell behind the road accidents.

The special rituals were conducted by a famous witchdoctor Mzee Bimumba Sulubu Nzai from Adu ward in Magarini Sub-County

The elders marched to the road carrying a black hen, a red cock, a goat together with a traditional pot full of concoctions.

Speaking to journalists, Mijikenda Kaa Elders Association coordinator Tsuma Nzai said it was important to conduct the rituals to save lives from being lost through road accidents in the county.

He said the rituals were part of the special prayers by the Kaa elders, which commenced on Friday last week at Kaya Ribe in Rabai subcounty.

"The prayers were planned by the elders who started with a special invocation at Kaya Ribe to seek our god's protection from the evil spirits that were causing drought, death, and diseases', "he said.

The coordinator said that apart from the scene of accidents, the cleansing rituals are also conducted to people who have defiled themselves by killing with a gun, or a panga.

After Kaya Ribe, the elders went to Kaya Godoma rescue centre to visit the elderly who have sought refuge at the home for fear of being killed on witchcraft allegations.

The elders will proceed to Mekatilili Menza site in Magarini sub-county, the Mipoho shrines and Kaya Kinondo in Kwale County to get the blessings of the Mijikenda gods and goddesses.

Mr Nzai called on President Uhuru Kenyatta and the governors to embrace the culture and tradition of different communities to promote peace and unity in the Country.

He asked the government to work together and support the Kaa elders as the champion for peace in the Country.

Kayafungo vice-chairperson Mzee Katana Yaa said some spells that befall the community are by people and said the only way to defeat the evil spirits is by conducting the rituals and prayers.

"There are so many things including the demons, which are casted out by some people, and we always pray to God to wipe them out," he said.

According to Mzee Daniel Mwawara, it will be bad if the elders fail to conduct the rituals as this will lead to more calamities.

"As Kaya elders, we are supposed to be on time to prevent calamities from befalling our community by appeasing the gods, as it is required traditionally. We cannot sit down and watch as we go through many tragedies and say that performing rituals is a thing of the past," he said.

Furaha Ngumbao from Magarini Sub-County who lost his three relatives during the April accident also joined the Kaya elders for the cleansing rituals.

He expressed said that such tragedies like what befell his family are cleansed through conducting certain rituals at the scene.

"The deaths that occurred on that fateful day affected the whole country, because those who died were not only Mijikenda but Kenyans. So, it pleases us to see the elders stand up for the safety of the nation," he said.

Traditionally, such rituals are conducted by a special witchdoctor who is conversant with the process to cast our spells.

Mr Sulubu appeased the gods with a concoction of special herbs, and later poured the traditional palm wine 'mnazi' on the tarmac. He proceeded to slaughter the chicken, whose blood was put in a traditional pot covered with a white and red piece of cloth.

The witch doctor then slaughtered a black goat and put the blood in the container before mixing it with the herbs.

The elders walked along the highway, as they splashed the herbs on the road using leaves.

Mr Sulubu disclosed that it is not his first time to perform a cleansing ritual to chase away demons that cause road accidents.

Two decades ago, the witchdoctor cleansed the Sabaki bridge after two buses collided and plunged into the River Sabaki

"The black hen is for ensuring there is peace, while the goat and the cock are for removing the bad blood," said Mr Sulubu.

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