• Wednesday, 24 July 2024
Museveni urges the church not to oppose witchdoctors, saying they are useful too

Museveni urges the church not to oppose witchdoctors, saying they are useful too"

President Yoweri Museveni has urged religious leaders and other government officials to stop isolating people who practice witchcraft and traditional religions.

Museveni said he was dismayed that some church leaders often engage in confrontation with traditionalists, not realising how important they can be to national development.

When I am in Kampala, I sometimes hear the church leaders attacking the traditional religions which are very strong in places like this,” Museveni said.

“Yet, it was these (traditionalists) who helped us in the war that brought this government. The young men that were operating our machineguns came from homes with traditional backgrounds.”

President Museveni made the remarks on Sunday, June 9 during the National Heroes Day celebrations held in Gomba District.

Instead of confronting traditionalists, Museveni said religious and government leaders should treat them the same way he did when he commanded the NRA rebels in the 1980s.

Although he came from a religious family, Museveni said he closely worked with witch doctors and often followed their lead throughout the guerilla war.

“I had to find ways of convincing them and working with them without judging them like I hear other groups judging them,’ he said.

I simply encouraged them to carry out their rituals, while also allowing us to play our part. I clearly guided them about tasks that required science, bullets machine guns and mortars. They could pray to their gods to help us as we operated the machine guns.”

Museveni recounted one such traditionalist named Mpiima, who would tell them to sit for hours and wait for him to bewitch the government forces, and they complied.

In one instance, he said, he was made to jump over a chicken carcass as one of the rituals.

Yet still, Museveni says he closely worked with the religious groups as well.

For instance, he recalls celebrating the 1982 Christmas Day at Kasana Catholic Church and also holding prayers with the Anglican priests and Duwas with Imams.

My advice to you the religious leaders, is to be patient and to share ideas and not just order people around,” he said.

This year’s Heroes Day celebrations were held under the theme; “Hail Our Heroes; A Secure Uganda is Now A Reality.”

 

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