President Yoweri Museveni yesterday confessed how he used witchcraft to capture Kampala during the bush war.
The president made this rare confession at hotel African during the National Prayers Breakfast attended by Kenya deputy president, William Ruto, religious leaders and government officials.
Museveni started by acknowledging the existence of God.
“God is there according to my observation; not to what the Bishop has said, but according to what I have seen,” he said.
Museveni said he was raised by a very religious mother who “because in her ‘born-againism’, saw all African things as pagan.
“I said no madam!”
He was even an active member of Scripture Union until 1965 when he gave it up.
“I disagreed in way church people and religious people were neglecting issue of African liberation.”
Museveni practices witchcraft
When it came to liberating Uganda from the past regimes, Museveni decided not to rely on God alone.
The bush war hero narrated an incident before the capture of Kampala in 1986 when he was forced to use witchcraft.
Museveni says a local witchdoctor told him that then president Milton Obote had cursed his liberation struggle, the reason it was taking longer than anticipated.
At the same time, his bush war fighters were divided on religious lines; some upheld Christianity while others believed in the African traditional religion and worship of evil spirits.
“He [the witchdoctor] told me that Obote had killed a woman and buried her upside down to curse my rebellion.”
The president continued: “The witchdoctor then offered to perform a ritual on me. I agreed.”
So, the witchdoctor slaughtered a chicken and asked Museveni to jump over it three times.
“He said “jumping the chicken” ritual would help me achieve success as we raided Kampala but I asked the ‘jajjas’ to leave war matters to me.”
And so on the 25th January 1986, the Museveni-led faction finally overran the capital Kampala.
The NRA toppled Okello’s government and declared victory the next day.
Museveni was sworn in as president on 29 January.
Museveni said he was not alone in this venture because many people in the whole countryside in Uganda still use the traditional religion.
“Majority go to churches during day time and at night opt for traditional healers,” the president insisted.
He advised religious leaders to preach messages that will help in the liberation of Africa.
“”Preach and work – don’t just shout and shout. It needs action, be close to the people so they can see and believe,” he urged religious leaders present at the prayers.