Uganda: police criticed for hiring witch doctor

The Nakasongola resident district commissioner (RDC), David Masereka, has criticised the Police for hiring a witchdoctor to help them recover a stolen motorcycle.

The motorbike, a red Yamaha belonging to Gulu district administration, was stolen on January 24, from the Nakasongola Police parking yard.

The district Police commander, Charles Awiyo, said the motorbike had earlier been recovered from Migyera town from a man suspected to have stolen it from Gulu. It was parked in Nakasongola as an exhibit.

Two days after it was stolen from the yard, the Policemen hired a medicineman, Nzoyizoyi, at a cost of sh200,000, to help identify the thief.

Nzoyizoyi paraded all the officers at the station and gave them some plants to chew and a concoction to inhale, saying it would help identify the culprit.

Nakasongola is a predominantly superstitious community, which believes that witchdoctors have powers to recover stolen items.

A top detective in the district explained why the witchdoctor was hired. “We interrogated nine officers who were on duty when the motorcycle was stolen but we failed to get the culprit. We had to resort to Nzoyizoyi.”

The detective added that the medicineman also failed. “He promised to identify the thief the following day but up to now, we have not recovered the motorcycle. We lost our sh200,000 that we fundraised.”

In his letter, the RDC criticised the Police over what he called ‘lack of professionalism’.

“It is unfortunate that such a thing happened during broad day-light when the public was watching, moreover during this 21st century.

“These people need retraining so that they behave professionally, otherwise Government money which is spent on scientific investigations is being wasted,” the RDC wrote.

Masereka warned that the public would lose confidence in the Police if they continued using witchdoctors.

“The public may stop going to the Police for help, if they realise that officers rely on witchcraft and not scientific investigations. As leaders, they are not supposed to be superstitious because witchcraft only plays on the minds of simple people.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday February 7, 2008.
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