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Women who sleep with 'waganga' to tame husbands


Kenyans are ranked 15th in Africa among people who believe in witchcraft -- research

Nairobi women will go to any length, including sleeping with witchdoctors, to 'tie' randy husbands and protect their marriages, The Nairobian can reveal.

Lilian* claims she accompanied her friend and neighbor, Jane*, to a witch doctor in River Road when Jane's husband started 'behaving funny.'

Juma, the shabbily dressed witch doctor, attends to clients in a dingy room on the third floor of a building along Luthuli Avenue.

When they arrived, Jane was asked to drop Sh3,500 in a plastic basin under an old wooden table, before following Juma into another room to state her problem.

Thirty minutes later, she emerged and signaled Lilian that it was time to leave.

"When I asked her if she had been given medicine, she smiled and showed me some black stuff in a polythene bag that she was instructed to smear on their bed. But I almost fainted when Jane further confessed that she had sex with the witch doctor so that the 'medicine' would make it impossible for her husband to sustain an erection with another woman," she reveals.

Her bewilderment, she says, arose from the fact that both were devoted members of a popular church along Mombasa Road.

"At first, I thought it was a joke, but when she insisted she would do anything to keep her man from straying, I called her husband and warned him not to get intimate with her that night, since the witchdoctor had advised her not to bathe until she has had sex with him," she says.

The two friends, however, fell out when Jane suspected that Lilian must have leaked her secret.

But witch doctors sleeping with their female clientele is apparently a common ritual.

Ciku, a cybercafe attendant along Tom Mboya Street, confesses that she also visited a witch doctor in Shauri Moyo in 2010 to help her conceive.

"I had not conceived six years into my marriage. I was desperate. I could have done anything. But, then the mganga tried to undress me, I slapped him and ran out of his 'den'," says Ciku. Pastor Robert Burale warns that witch doctors take advantage of desperate women's vulnerability.

"Even wives of high-profile figures sleep with witchdoctors, but what they don't know is that once they have sex with the witchdoctors, they create a spiritual connection that will bind them to visit these dens regularly," adds Burale.

'Doctor' Kipini, a witch doctor that we contacted on phone only said "I offer a number of services, including love and marriage-related cures. When women seek us out with problems like inability to conceive, we must help them" and quickly hung up.

And it is not just women protecting their turf. Men 'lock' wives too. Patrick, a matatu driver plying the Ngong' Road route says, "I decided to protect my wife from mafisi (hyenas) by visiting a witchdoctor in Lang'ata who applied some stuff on my SIM card for a fee and told me no one will ever touch my wife. It's been nine months now and I am sure no one is eyeing her."

But why would 'sophisticated' Nairobians consult witch doctors?

According to a Pew Research Centre survey, Kenyans are ranked 15th in Africa among people who believe in witchcraft, a few points behind the

Democratic Republic of Congo, and way ahead of Ethiopia, Nigeria, Zambia and Rwanda.

A Pew report published in a local daily also revealed that a quarter of Kenyans, both Christians and Muslims, believe in the protective power of juju (charms or amulets) and that they consulted traditional healers.

Gregor Schmidt, in Contemporary Beliefs About Witches and Witchcraft in Kenya, says: "The belief in witches does not depend on education or religious conviction. Many have never met a witch, but the belief is rooted so deeply in African cultural knowledge that nobody doubts it. University professors and simple farmers, followers of African Religion, Christians and Muslims, believe in their existence."

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