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Bill to scrap licence fees for witchdoctors stirs mixed reactions in Embu

By Joseph Muchiri | April 16th 2016

A proposal to waive licence fees for traditional healers has stirred mixed reactions in Embu County.

Muminji Member of County Assembly Newton Kariuki said the proposal to remove a tax provision for traditional health services, herbalists and divine healers from the 2016 Embu County Finance Bill could see an uncontrollable mushrooming of witchcraft dens.

Kariuki maintained that the proposed annual charges of Sh5,000 for anyone practising “witchcraft, divining, astrology, sorcery or rainmaking’ business, should be retained to avoid making Embu County the Kenyan capital for black magic”.

He predicted that advertisements for sorcery and witchcraft services would litter the county if the business was left untaxed.

“Traditional medicine exists in Embu and people seek those services at night. We know there exist witchdoctors and traditional healers who charge between Sh20,000 and Sh30,000. We should not leave that gap untaxed,” he said during the second reading of the 2016 Finance Bill.

Finance Committee Chairman Kanjogu Mugo had earlier told the House that there was a unanimous decision to scrap the witchcraft tax because it was not easy to collect.

He also said the committee had agreed to subsidise charges for other medical services.

Mugo who is also the Kyeni North MCA said circumcision for boys in public hospitals would be charged Sh500 instead of Sh1,500.

The MCA further revealed that snakebite victims would be treated at public hospitals free of charge.

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