1/6 You seem not to be sure whether to condemn or to condone so-called witchcraft. And by the way, witchcraft is but a euphemism for rubbish. Why? Even when you peer into the kit bag of a “witch doctor”, all you see there is absolute rubbish: scales of a pangolin, snail shells, teeth of a hyena, porcupine spines, claws of a crab, cow dung of a leopard, skull of a victim of kwarshiorkor and all such manner of zoological collectibles. Gasiya peke yake!
2/6 The basic fact is that, where man’s capacity to comprehend and/or tame the forces of nature suddenly ends, the belief in the supernatural immediately begins. As man increases his mastery of nature, his belief in the supernatural diminishes.
3/6 Belief in the supernatural is packaged in all sorts of ways. All of them belong to the domain of superstition. They range from what we call religions, including your Chrisitianity , to your so-called witchcraft. In terms of man’s ability to cope with the forces of nature, Christianity and witchcraft lie on the same continuum: only varying degrees of superstitious content. So, apposing Christianity with witchcraft is neither here nor there. They are first cousins. The difference is that, one has been divested of as much superstition as possible.
4/6 And by the way, what do you mean by an “African belief”? Do you mean belief in the occult? Witchcraft and other forms of crude superstition are a characteristic of society that is backward, like Uganda is now. There is nothing African about superstition. Between the 13th and 19th centuries as many as 1 million people were executed in Europe for the crime of witchcraft. I am sure you have heard about the Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1661-1662. You may also have heard about the trials of “witches” in the German hinterland of Rothenburg in the same period, going on even as recently as 1750. In that town, as many as 400 “witches” were executed in one day during that time. In the USA , you may have heard about the witch hunts in Salem and Massachusetts . In England, the last person to suffer death for so-called wtichcraft was in 1684, although there is a case of a lady living in Hertfordshire village of Walkern, a few miles North of London, who narrowly survived death as recently as 1712 after being accused of being a witch….I think her name was Jane Wenham…she was saved by the intervention of Queen Anne….and so on….Note that the major victims were always women, particularly the poor and largely the widows, and trials were not only in religious courts, but also in secular ones.
5/6 So, do not be racist or biased in other way you as you look at human superstition. Whenever and whereever the level of science and technology is abysmal, witchcraft and religion come in to fill the gap. There is nothing African about it, and we should not base on Africa ‘s current backwardness to infer that manifestations of backwardness are a preserve of Africans only. The irony with you Professor is that, you then go a head to base on Africa ‘s current predicament to weave up some strange notion of your African Nationalism…or what ever one may call it.
6/6 But, but, but, now how about you the Professor of Chemistry who then goes ahead to assert that, “The record of African spiritual leaders healing and successfully praying for rain are obliterated or never perpetuated.”? You as a scientist should be in the forefront of demystifying superstitions and dispelling such fallacies as “rain-making”, but here you are telling us about the so-called African spiritual leaders. You Professor of all people, know the hydrologic cycle; you know the Bergeron Process of how rain forms and falls; you know that, the only way man can induce rain is by CCNs or cloud condensation nuclei. You studied those facts in Chemistry and got a PhD, you teach them, and then you come here at UAH to tell us that, sijui, “African spiritual” this and that, should be perpetuated! Does PhD mean “Pure head Damage”? How doesn’t someone rule you people for 50 years non-stop? How, how? That when some scary-looking self-important old chap in need of dentures in some village in Bulemezi throws cowries in the air, spits to the west, puffs to the North, walks to the road junction on his hands and slaughters a white hen facing south….then the rain will turn up! Professor Muwanga-Zaake want that to be perpetuated! That is the myth that a 21st century Professor of chemistry wants to perpetuate, in the name of African nationalism. Now, don’t you really see where Africa ‘s problems lie?
Lance Corporal (Rtd) Otto Patrick