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A witchdoctor’s outlandish claims

STUDIES
By | March 8th 2010

By Kariuki Muthui

In the new Kenya, anything is possible. You can lose your fiancÈe just because a jazz musician says so, and a Nakuru church can raise people from the dead.

The two are however not the first to know you can play on people’s beliefs to your benefit.

One group has been around even before Europeans came to Africa. These are witchdoctors.

Today they advertise their services all over the city.

Take a Tanzanian witchdoctor who has profligately pinned his posters on walls, bus stops, telephone poles and even the drainage system in Ngara.

He calls himself Majini Tisa — the Nine Demons.

Apart from a Safaricom number and a name that a Swahili rock band might find enviable, he gives no other details about himself except, of course, the outrageous title of Doctor.

Out of journalistic curiosity, I visited him. From his base in Mlango Kubwa he claims to wield immense power.

There is no disease, he claims, that he cannot cure. And rightly so because in his magical realm (of herbs and spices) exist all potions the human race has ever needed to render every affliction past tense.

Obviously this tickled my entrepreneurial bone and I came up with a great idea. Why not patent his potions and then embark upon curing the planet in exchange for billions?

I might as well have suggested he does the Cha-Cha naked on TV on Jamhuri Day. His calling was sacred and his potions went only to the deserving few, he snapped at me.

Wayward husbands

By day, he battles disease. At night he moonlights as a marriage counsellor. Apparently, women pay him a lot of money to deal with their wayward husbands.

Word on the street is that the guy actually preys on these women. He tells them that if they sleep with him he can guarantee that the men will never abandon them again.

This has earned him the moniker Kuku wa Lubanda. Lubanda is a town in the Mbeya region of Tanzania, where he supposedly comes from.

Although his command of the English language was nowhere near perfect, he still used it with some flourish to let me know that during the full moon he is an astronaut.

At first I assumed he meant to say astronomer, seeing as Kenya’s only claim to space exploration is a poky launch pad in the sea north of Malindi. It was supposedly operated by Italians, but is really a monument to the simple terrestrial minds of our leaders.

Church leaders

Anyway, he could read the sky, he began, which was well within the ballpark because it’s exactly where astronauts go, what astronomers do and what astrologers say they do.

But I am yet to hear of an astronomer (or astronaut) who can define the gender of your yet to be conceived child, her soul flying through the continuum of space-time even as we speak.

I am not too sure of astrologers, who claim they can read the recipe of Weetabix from the stars. Or some church leaders and even politicians who claim divine anointment.

Regardless, I was instructed to be delighted as my seed will bring forth a girl. And she will be a source of much joy for me.

He stated that his weekends are quite busy because that is when he assumes his God given role as the Supreme Wizard and goes to war.

Why, just last weekend he ordered an adulterer’s bollocks to fall off to the delight of a jilted wife.

As I stood up to leave he sombrely asked for my number, just in case someone tried to put a curse on me. I gladly gave it to him.

I am afraid, however, that he will only reach Sister Perpetua. If only I could be the fly on the phone, as it were, when Sister Perpetua answers. A showdown looms large.

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