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Our elections are incomplete without witchcraft

Updated Monday, May 27th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3


Our politicians are up in arms after an imaginative group of activists caricatured our honourables as swine in a particularly satisfying protest targeting the waheshimiwa’s habit of demanding pay raises every seven minutes.

The protesters were so ruthless that names of some particularly irksome MPs were prominently written on the pigs using bloody red ink. Some wags in Nairobi said the pigs felt right at home in the not so august House. A few ecomentalists even claimed it was an insult to the pigs to be equated to our MPs.


As has come to be expected from the twilight zone that is Kenya’s parliament, some MPs found reason to appeal to the spirits, with one MP even claiming the protest was, in fact, witchcraft.

It’s a shame that our honourables failed to see the witty side of the protest, a failing in which they were joined by the Kenya Police, who swiftly descended on what was until then a peaceful protest, with rungus and whips, beating protesters like they were trying to kill snakes.

What is surprising, though, is how a politician can blame witchcraft for a protest whose reasons are obvious. But maybe the politician should not be blamed. The first election petitions is about to wind down, more than a few MPs and senators will be thrown out of their fancy legislative seats in a few weeks, and we will then be back to the business end of the election cycle.


And in Kenya, elections mean booming business for witches, magicians, and anyone else that can utter an incantation. In Africa, villagers will tell you for free that politics and witchcraft are intertwined. Suave, urbane politicians by day are transformed into terrified, trembling supplicants by night as they visit the hidden forest shrines of feared witchdoctors.

And while there, they are slapped around by shaggy-haired witchdoctors high on busaa and strange concoctions.  These witchdoctors are feared people and stories are told of the calamities that befall anyone who dares look a witchdoctor in the eye.


In return for this terrifying experience, the politicians receive choice leaves and assorted magic potions that they smear on their hands and faces before every campaign rally.

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