Abdul Nadduli, the Minister Without Portfolio has clashed with Luweero LC V Chairperson, Ronald Ndawula for banning gatherings for exorcising demons in the district. Recently, Luweero District Security Committee banned gatherings convened to drive out demons and removing fetishes from villages citing extortion by witchdoctors.
Ndawula explained that in many cases people believe they suffer from evil spirits yet they have diseases that can be treated medically. Following the ban, the Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura ordered Police officers to stop escorting witch doctors to conduct exorcism, saying witchcraft is illegal in Uganda.
He directed the arrest of any officer found escorting witch doctors to conduct exorcism. But Abdul Nadduli, the Minister Without Portfolio, says the ban contravenes the right to worship, which ushered in by the ruling government. According to Nadduli, the gatherings of exorcism help to restore peace and save people from deaths plotted by evil doers in society through witchcraft.
He argues that Ndawula should have proposed how to regulate the activities of the witchdoctors instead of banning such gatherings. Nadduli reveals that he has received a petition from the witchdoctors challenging the ban and forwarded it to Museveni.
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In his defense, Ndawula explains that he isn't opposed to traditional worship, but the gatherings witchdoctors use to extort money from members of the public.
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Mutyaba Muwonge, the Chairperson of Uganda N'eddagala Lyayo, Luweero branch, says people run to witch doctors for help to drive out demons from community, which may cause harm unless addressed.
There are mixed reactions from residents on the ban. Paul Mukungu, the Luweero Town Council LC 3 chairperson, says there is need for the district to sensitise residents on the dangers of witchcraft, adding that some people may interpret the ban as an attack on the freedom worship and access to treatment.
James Mubiru, another resident has welcomed the ban, saying several homes have been destroyed because of accusations of witchcraft by some residents without any evidence. The latest incident occurred when Sadat Kabonge came under attack from residents of Kiyenje village in Luweero town for allegedly bewitching his neighbor, Denis Ntege.
Residents ganged against Kabonge and forced him to pay Shillings 3 million to hire witchdoctors to remove the fetishes from his home. Schools and health Centers have been closed in past over suspected demonic attacks.