Human sacrifice in Uganda: Are you safe?
Do you know Mrs Mutabingwa’s phrase, ‘I am cooking, Omwami’? Can you distinguish between Yamato and Eagle Earth? If your answer is yes, then you belong to the last free, protected and safe childhood generation – Uganda’s immediate pre- and post-independence period.
A typical village independence child woke up in the morning, disappeared into the neighbourhood and re-emerged either for lunch or at sunset. Children were free to explore the locality on their own – playing, fruit hunting, bird hunting, fishing, etc. Parents didn’t worry because Big Brother was at large. Children were sons and daughters of the local community, and most adults took collective responsibility to feed them, to monitor their whereabouts and to discipline them. Meals were prepared to cater for the possibility of children bringing along friends. Any child trapped for instance by heavy rain at locality families at sunset, or found in any kind of trouble was escorted back home by a responsible adult. In reciprocation, children genuinely respected their collective parents.
Was human sacrifice practiced? Were people ritually killed in a manner that was supposed to appease or please supernatural beings (gods, spirits) in order to achieve a desired result? Were body parts in demand? Yes, that’s right. However, while these practices existed, the magnitude was insignificant. Instead, some households had small visible shrines in front of their houses where they sacrificed animals and chicken, and offered local brew.
For the independence child, human sacrifice was one of those stories (living tales) bordering ‘folk stories’, which very occasionally happened mostly to adults in some distant villages, often of other tribes. Death was a taboo which children were protected from witnessing. Children were prevented from seeing dead people, except in unavoidable obvious circumstances.
Post-independence’s major problem was Kondoism. People were butchered for their possessions. Bugisu’s solution for Kondoism was something called ‘potolo’ (patrol). Based on ‘Muluka’ administrative units, with a chairman and a vice-chairman, potolo was a rota based mandatory night patrol for able bodied adult men. Only those with permanent employment in the civil service and the wealthy self-employed were exempted, but were required to contribute money for the purchase of torch batteries.
The living tales have it that potolo identified kondos, arrested them, chopped them to bits, and distributed those bits to individual potolo members on duty, who disposed them secretly and permanently. Anyone potolo visited would never be seen again. Unsurprisingly, potolo went beyond its objectives and got used for settling personal disputes, particularly for those people well established in society. Either way, only adults ‘disappeared’.
Amin’s economic war distributed local businesses to the indigenous Ugandans, many of them illiterate. Many of these renown Mafuta Mingis, believed that human bodies, blood or parts from people, dead or alive was a solution for sustaining their free gotten riches. This was a turning point for the free and protected child. The free child spell was broken. Living tales about child sacrifice became regular and came increasingly closer to home. Businessmen starting factories, jaggery/maize/rice/saw mills and farms; buying matatus, buses and lorries; or building hotels, lodges or shops looked for children’s parts. This continued through Obote 2 and Lutwa. Parents started being vigilant, particularly whenever rumours about ‘scouts’ laying traps within the neighbourhood were floated around.
During NRM some businesses transferred from the Mafuta Mingis to people with blackboard exposure – the literate and semi-literates, hereafter referred to as ‘blackboards’. As businesses’ transition to the blackboards progressed, it was theoretically obvious and logical for the human sacrifice trends to reverse. Unfortunately, logic plays no part in such matters in the real world. Overwhelming evidence including recent reports in New Vision and in other local papers shows that the opposite has happened.
What is happening now goes to prove that a combination of blackboards and personal desires to force and/or change a course of nature have become terrible ingredients for society at large, and for the once free child.
Who would have imagined that economics could play part in human sacrifice? Yes, it does – through demand. The industry is being fuelled by the blackboards’ escalating demand for the products, both directly and indirectly. Their desires have been diversified into their daily activities: wealth expansion – the businesses, factories, mills, hotels, farms, houses; work promotion – civil service, military, police, management, ministerial; personal enhancements – education, manhood, fertility, love, long life; power – political, the list is endless!
The direct demand stems from those blackboards who knowingly order for humans or their parts to be delivered for their desired results. This is often linked, but not restricted to heavy duty physical projects in the wealth expansion category. These blackboards will do anything, at any cost, in an attempt to meet their goals.
Allan, of Uganda, was attacked for sacrifice October 19, 2009 and survived. Ten Winona State University students will travel to Allan’s hometown May 1-July 1 to raise awareness of child sacrifice. (Submitted photo)
However, the largest demand is indirect, and mostly linked to human parts. It comes from blackboards with little or no awareness about their demand implications. These blackboards knowingly or unknowingly carry human parts in their pockets/handbags everyday. Some of them drink, eat, or burry them in their compounds or at work.
Yes, blackboard, ignorance is no excuse! That small hard solid object in your pocket/handbag that you touch for reassurance everyday potentially has a human part. Yes, the ‘lizi’ the witch doctor gave you possibly has a human piece! Yes, you probably touch a human part every day! Yes, your pocket/handbag is someone’s grave!
Blackboard, has it ever occurred to you that the victim is someone’s child, brother, sister, husband, wife, parent or close relative? Have you ever considered your child, brother, sister, husband, wife, parent, a close relative or indeed yourself as potential victim? Can you imagine yourself or parts of you in someone’s pocket/handbag? Yes, unless the demand reverses, you are not immune. That is why it could be your turn next! Blackboard, you are running out of time. The challenge is for you to act now and reverse the trend.