Many flock to ‘doctors’ for dose of protection - Daily Nation

Many flock to ‘doctors’ for dose of protection

Sunday April 18 2010

By NATION Team

Monica Nyokabi, a mother of five from Kisii, claims to have been a victim of evil spirits.

Her tribulations range from constant sicknesses, which claimed two of her children, a troubled marriage and an alleged bad omen affecting her life.

The Nation found her at Kitui Town heading home after visiting a medicine man in the area.

She learnt of the “doctor”, who administers a traditional oath known as Ngata, from her friends.

“I took the Ngata oath to ensure I wouldn’t get fired from my civil service job, sort out my marital problems and ensure I am protected from malicious witches and wizards,” she said.

She is just one of ‘Doctor’ Quick Kinyamasyo’s many clients who travel to his shrine in the dusty sun-baked Mbitini market in Kitui District, to seek his help.

According to the medicine man, Ngata offers a shield against witchcraft. It is believed to protect the person who takes the oath from being bewitched or bewitching others.

“It aims at binding suspected witches and wizards and stopping them from killing their targets,” he told the Nation.

But according to Dr Charles Mwangombe, a psychiatrist, the bizarre tales related to witchcraft could either be an extension of one’s imagination or a sign of mental illness.

“I do not think any of these tales are true. I just believe they are a manifestation of a kind of mental disorder especially with those who are depressed,” he said.

Church leaders in Ukambani blame illiteracy, poverty and outdated laws for never-dying beliefs in witchcraft.

The situation is made worse by lack of modern laws to either ban or regulate the practice with police and legal experts warning that unless the laws are amended, dealing with such cases would remain difficult.

For instance, the current Witchcraft Act was passed by the colonial government in the 50s.

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