By Juliet Lukwago
A former witchcraft practitioner has urged Ugandans to stop practicing witchcraft and turning to shrines for “miracles”, saying that the so-called practitioners only fleece them of their hard-earned money.
Paul Jjemba who practiced witchcraft in South Africa addressed hundreds of Christians at Sacred Heart of Mary Cathedral at Lubaga on Sunday.
They had gathered to listen to the ongoing sensitization campaign about the Uganda Martyrs by the Catholic Church in partnership with New Vision – a drive organized by the Kampala Archdiocese.
While speaking to the worshippers, Jjemba spoke of ways in which so-called witchdoctors defraud unsuspecting people of their money.
“I was a witchcraft practitioner and I know everything that takes place in every corner of the shrines. I know what I am talking about,” he said.
“These people are doing nothing apart from taking your money while others merely use [have sex with] women under the pretext of giving them fertility, while those who are still going there are facing more problems.”
He sternly warned people against engaging in the practice.
“I worked as a witchdoctor for several years and I know whatever I am talking about. Those who want to know, let them consult me,” Jjemba told an attentive audience.
He went to stress that nothing spiritual takes place in these shrines apart from stealing people’s money and abusing women and girls.
The former witchdoctor demonstrated ways how those in the practice do their thing. PHOTO/Juliet Lukwago
The former witchdoctor revealed that within shrines, witchdoctors cunningly sleep with desperate women and girls, and that most end up getting pregnant.
Others catch various sexually-related diseases during such fraudulent encounters, said Jjemba.
“The time I spent in the shrine, I saw many women getting problems. Imagine some women used to come thinking that coming in the shrine they will get help but instead of help, they went back crying yet they had come looking for money. They keep moving from one place to another.”
Clad in a white-wash blue shirt and dark trousers, a vibrant Jjemba gripped the attention of the gathering as he demonstrated how witchdoctors change voices in order to confuse the “patients”.
They do this, he said, by speaking in different voices, and sometimes by using colleagues to speak out from hiding – in dark parts of the shrine.
He also displayed a technique they used to make a bucketful of water to light up, after pouring a highly flammable chemical atop the water.
But Jjemba was stopped short in this particular demonstration, and asked by people from the congregation to stop the display when smoke started billowing out from the cathedral, and also because of the stinging sharp smell of the smoke.
DIRTY TRICK: Jjemba showed the fire trick before a thrilled gathering inside the cathedral. PHOTO/Juliet Lukwago
So why did he quit this lucrative practice?
He explained: “Before I went into witchcraft, I was looking for a job and one of my friends came to me and told me that he had a job and wanted to take me to South Africa. I thought he was telling me the truth, but when I went to South Africa thinking that God had answered my prayers, when I reached there, this [witchcraft] is the job I did for some years because I had nothing else to do.
“I had no ticket to come back to Uganda. But what I saw was terrible, people used to think that they would get cured, but they instead got more problems,” narrated Jjemba.
“In that period I saw some ending up being used by some witchcraft practitioners. Some women would come with their babies, then leave them aside within the shrines and then go for divinations [sexual activity].
“Imagine such a situation! This is why I decided to come out to tell the public the truth. I am warning others not to engage in such practices because they will end up in tears,” he said.
Kampala Archbishop Dr. Cyprian Lwanga led the mass, during which he talked about the Uganda Martyrs who were killed on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga for declining to denounce their faith.
Several priests attended the mass, as did the minister of tourism Maria Mutagamba.
Lubaga is the seventh parish to be visited by the sensitization team, with the group having started from Namayumba, Kankobe, Kitakyusa, Namugongo, Nsambya and Ggoli.
The Episcopal Conference postponed the National Day of the Golden Jubilee, earlier scheduled to take place this October, but the sensitization program around parishes will continue.