Curses and Conmen: Despite Police, Locals Turn to Witchcraft for Security

Curses and Conmen: Despite Police, Locals Turn to Witchcraft for Security

Witchdoctor Odhiambo Okello curses suspected thieves who are often later found grazing in fields, believing they are cows.

In parts of Kenya where crime is rampant, locals frustrated with long police investigations have begun turning in droves to witchdoctors for the service of catching thieves. Victims of crime say the method is faster than bothering with the authorities and provides a future deterrent from criminal activity once word of a curse gets out. They have no doubt that witchcraft works.

Tabitha Muthike, a witchdoctor from the village of Kwa Muthike (a village actually named after the old woman), “treats” property, so that in the event that it is stolen, the thief will descend into some form of madness until the property is returned. It’s a tactic that appears to be working.

“Last month, a driver stole a sack of charcoal from the roadside. But it caught fire after travelling for a short distance. He had to return the charcoal to get the spell broken by Muthike and be set free,” said Mary Nduku, one of Tabitha’s clients. She went on to say that no one dares touch the mango fruit growing in the area for fear of remaining stuck in place until the property owner arrives to spit on them, the only way such a curse can be broken.

In Migori, one landlord even uses witchcraft as a selling point for his building, telling prospective tenants that since the building has been treated, they could leave their doors open for days and nothing would go missing thanks to the spiritual protection provided.

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James Etabwa, a resident of Bungoma, told The Standard that he didn’t believe in witchcraft until he sought it in an act of desperation, after his watchman was killed and property stolen from him. To his surprise, the witchdoctor was able to recover his stolen wheelbarrow, cassette player, and 15,000 in local currency.

Police, on the other hand, are not so keen on the phenomenon, and have issued a statement to the public warning against the use of witchdoctors, who they say seek only quick cash with their “well woven network of conmen”.

Witchdoctor Odhiambo Okello listens in court as an eyewitness accuses him of being a con artist.

One alleged conman is the witchdoctor Paul Odhiambo Okello, famous for cursing suspected thieves who are later found grazing in fields as if they were cattle. Earlier this month, Okello’s house was raided by authorities and he was whisked away to face charges of swindling Sh700,000 from a business in Nairobi.

“He will be arraigned in court with the crime of falsely obtaining money and we are appealing to any members of the public who have fallen victim to similar fraud to come forward and press charges. We had already received many complaints regarding the same person,” the police chief told WestFM.

Authorities are fearful that the surge in witchdoctors’ popularity could wind up inciting waves of violence not only directed at innocent people singled out as thieves, but at those accused of witchcraft. Frenzied lynch mobs are not uncommon in Kenya; just three years ago, 15 women were burned to death by an angry crowd as the result of a witch hunt.

Duncan Mandwa Omoding, a “doctor” who claims to have captured 33 criminals in the past year, admits that of that number, 8 people were lynched before police were able to get involved. Omoding wishes authorities were more willing to cooperate with witchdoctors in the fight against crime.

“Engaging in witchcraft is a crime because our Constitution doesn’t allow it and neither does it allow someone to possess paraphernalia likely to cause fear and panic,” warned police commissioner Samuel Kilele.


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10 Comments

  1. Flucksy

    02/25/2013 at 7:48 AM

    Sounds like a lot of people aren’t noticing their stuff going missing. Oh well, I don’t understand why they would lift the curse after the person brought back the stolen item. They only even considered bring it back because they were cursed.

  2. Juba

    06/30/2014 at 11:00 AM

    I would like to be put into contact with Tabitha Muthike of Kwa Muthike. Can anyone give me contact details or directions please?

    • Angel

      04/19/2015 at 11:28 PM

      Hey,

      Kindly assist me with Tabitha Muthike’s contacts please if you got it.

      Thanks

  3. Dorcas Ndungu

    09/08/2014 at 9:16 AM

    Can I get Tabitha Muthikes contacts please

    • Angel

      04/19/2015 at 11:29 PM

      Angel

      04/19/2015 at 11:28 PM

      Hey,

      Kindly assist me with Tabitha Muthike’s contacts please if you got it.

      Thanks

  4. Omar

    10/21/2014 at 10:38 PM

    anyone with omonding’s contact

    • Angel

      04/19/2015 at 11:33 PM

      Hey,

      Be alert that man is a conman…..I know a good number of people he has conned and some have even taken him to court.
      If you doubt just search about him and you will see that even his name is odhiambo okello.
      right now he has cases pledged aganist him and the police are looking for him.

      • Lily

        08/18/2015 at 2:51 AM

        Hi Angel

        Is omonding the same as person as Okello. I confused , I thought it is two different ppl. Did you manage to get Tabitha Muthike’s contact details

  5. kimjoh

    04/20/2015 at 12:03 AM

    Huyo mtu Paul odhiambo okello ni mwizi na anasakwa na polisi

  6. drka

    10/05/2015 at 9:21 AM

    assist me with Tabitha muthike’s contacts plz… Anyone…through 0726688842

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