A Catholic priest surprised mourners at a funeral over the weekend when he challenged witchdoctors to cast a spell on him to prove their power.
St Patrick’s Migwani Parish Father-in-charge in Mwingi West Paul Mathenge was presiding over the burial of Elizabeth Masaa Kimanzi, 87, at Kavililo village, Migwani sub-county, when he dared any sorcerer present to cast a spell on him.
“I want those who claim they possess wizardry to put me under a spell now. Where are they? Can they put their charms on me if they really exist,” said Fr Mathenge.
The priest said he did not fear witchcraft and castigated villagers for taking a Kamba oath called ‘ngata’-a mixture of goat’s blood and waste from its intestines. The oath is believed to be a crime buster. It is believed to draw the truth out in village disputes and is administered on both the complainant and the accused.
The priest called for tolerance and respect among religions to avoid conflict.
Witchcraft is widely believed to thrive in Ukambani region.
Such is the depth of superstition that some of those who believe in witchcraft have devised methods of preventing themselves from witchdoctors.
Traditionally, persons believed to be witches were lynched by mobs in a ritual called ‘King’ole’ during which they were first disowned and beaten by their children or close relatives. [Paul Mutua]