Did you know Uganda has a Witchcraft Act? It was enacted in the colonial days by colonialists and has never been amended to address modern day witchcraft, though it is actively used by the country’s modernising agency — the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) — which overseas operations of broadcasters, mobile telephony providers, social media and the Internet.
Currently, the UCC is cracking down on radio stations in Kampala using the Witchcraft Act. This is not bad in itself since the stations have become a platform for conmen to advertise their witchcraft trade to fleece a gullible public looking for miracles.
It is a tired game. Like those scam e-mails and text messages that say you have won a lottery which you never participated in, but yet some naive people proceed to try to claim the prize and end up getting fleeced.
Same with the radio so-called witchdoctors who actually pass themselves off as pastors. They take to the air and line up several callers who phone in to thank them for their great charms that secured them a fantastic business deal, a visa, a job or a dream lover. They give their phone numbers after every few sentences to lure more victims.
But because the Witchcraft Act has not been updated, the UCC does not go after these smart bible-carrying “Christian” witchdoctors. They fulfill the biblical prophesy of false prophets.
These bible-carrying witchdoctors sell their so-called miracles more blatantly everyday, contrary to the teachings of Jesus, whom they purport to serve.
In fact, no less a personality than retired Anglican Bishop Zack Niringiye took to the air last month to denounce the miracle mongering, saying that Ugandans have “elevated simple outcomes of hard work like buying a car or getting a promotion, to miracles, which they seek from pastors.”
The police have in the past arrested conmen posing as miracle workers and even exposed the tricks they use, some of them using technology such as cordless electric shock devices.
When a “pastor” triggers it from his pocket and hits a believer a couple of metres off with an electric shock, the victim believes it is the Holy Spirit around the preacherman who has hit the devil possessing them. Such a person will not hesitate to empty their account or even take a loan to “plant” a big financial “seed” in the pastor’s church so that all the “evil” spirits in them can be cast out.
There is a not-so-new tendency by Ugandans, including law enforcers, to fear witchcraft both by traditional witchdoctors and modern bible-carrying ones. So these conmen continue breaking the law with impunity, like the environment laws against noise pollution.
Many Kampala residents have cried out to the authorities to save them from the deafening noise from thousands of watts amplifiers that make-shift “churches” blast in quiet residential areas all days all times disturbing the peace and quiet of other hard working citizens.
Very few have got redress, as the authorities are also terrified of the “pastors,” thanks to their superstitious background. The authorities are afraid of antagonising some unknown power that the conmen purport to represent.