We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

What's the Harm in Witchcraft?

A year ago, on last Halloween, I posted on the gruesome reality of witchcraft in Tanzania. But, it's not just for Halloween here. Since my post last year, more people with albinism have been attacked or killed for their body parts to bring "good luck." More elderly women have been murdered for their red eyes, being blamed for deaths or crop failures. The Legal and Human Rights Centre, a civil society organisation in Tanzania, estimated there are as many as 500 elderly murders a year. And with this year's national election, despite claims of "banning witchcraft," it seems the witchdoctors have continued to play a role in the "luck" of politics. 

CBN4 reported that during the election this month, some politicians continued to seek out the witchdoctors. Before the election, one witchdoctor, "Doctor" Manyaunyau (which effectively translates as "meow") said “the big candidates who are running for parliamentary seats or for president send me their assistants: with his or her assistant, I plan an appointment to meet the famous politician in a hidden place. Right now, we can’t be separated, I’m still communicating with them, until the end of the election."

Manyaunyau lives in a house given as gift to him by a re-elected government minister. He is called "Meow" because he decapitates cats (either by chewing off or chopping off their heads) so their blood can be drunk in order to bring "good luck." He has a website, and I clicked on it to reference in this blog, but felt physically sick just with a 2 second glance and immediately closed it down. Sickening.
Image result for halloween cat image

It is hidden and dark. But it is subversive and prevalent. It is powerful and it is controlling. Mathias Chikawe, Home Affairs minister is reported to have said, “Law by itself cannot stop it, and even our warnings to the public, to the leaders, to business communities, will not stop it either.” And I agree. The power of witchcraft cannot be undone by human laws or human effort.  

Tanzania has now elected a new president, John Pombe Magufuli. The CCM party continues to hold power. It was the closest, most tense election in the history of the country. And yes, it has been a strange week for us staying glued to home in Mwanza, although full of fun and political pontificating with other housebound friends! The result was announced amidst much doubt and mistrust. It was announced as the Zanzibar vote (for which the opposition claimed victory) was annulled and tensions were rising throughout the island. The EU expressed their concerns of a lack of transparency of the whole election and many cried out against foul play. The result was contested by the opposition, but all this was quickly dismissed. Yet, through it all, the peaceful nature of Tanzanians held strong and despite some rather loud tear gas bombs, peace won over violence. 
CCM celebrating Magufuli's victory
While thankful for the apparent current peace, I am sickened by all that brews under the surface. I know I don't understand the full picture, nor do I know or see the half of it. But wherever there is evil that is hidden, which is disguised, or hidden in shrouds of darkness, it will bring harm and eat away at peace. Witchcraft, wherever it is and in whatever form, will bring harm and eat away at peace.

My prayer is that the new leaders of this nation will come into the light; that laws and government could be built on and formed out of truth; that justice could prevail and ultimately true peace.

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