It’s rare these days for leaders to call a village meeting and residents respond positively but this is not the case with Mr. Edson Nyerere, the self-proclaimed magician (traditional healer) who has won hearts of the majority who believe in his magical powers. But in Isingiro District, when it’s announced that this man is visiting a particular village, work comes to stand still, those digging abdicate their gardens, shops are closed as people rush to where he is hosting a gathering to witness his magical powers. This is to an extent that he has even won confidence of the locals in handling criminality than the police and local authorities.
Daily Monitor trailed this self-claimed doctor on his way to Nyakitunda Sub County in Isingiro district. It’s 10.00am and in a convoy of three vehicles he arrives at Ruhiira village as hundreds of people are waiting to bring out their problems and witness his powers, he unfortunately tells them he has an appointment in another village in Kashara. Good enough a thing, he tells them he has an office at Ruhira town and will be there attend to those with problems as they come. He then moves to Kashara in Ntungu Parish where hundreds of residents are waiting. Here, he is moving to intervene in a conflict that saw unknown people slash (cut down) a banana plantation of one John Mugyenyi. With residents eagerly waiting, he brings the owner of the plantation (complainant) and tells residents this is a time now his spirits to bring to them the suspects who did this.
He moves meters way to his vehicle, dresses up in other attires, comes up with the things he claims are his tools and medicines he uses to administer his works, puts them in the middle of the road roaring like a lion as some residents looked on with mixed emotions; frightened and others cheering. The residents bear the afternoon down pour for they want to see things done. He begins playing with a calabash which he says is a way of calling spirits for intervention as he is dancing around the crowd.
“Do you want me to bring the one that committed this alive or strike him or her dead,” he threatens as the residents yell we want him or her here. He continues his magic for over 10 minutes, roaring like a lion, eyes wide, foam comes out of the mouth, now there is dead silence from the crowd but some like young children get frightened and chicken way.
Eventually an old woman emerges from the crowd and confesses being behind this ill motive. “I am pleading on behalf of the community, yelling don’t strike me dead. My children and I are the ones that did this,’’ Ms Manjeri Kyomuhendo pleaded with Nyerere. Ms Manjeri is the sister to the owner of the plantation that was destroyed Mr. John Mugyenyi. She kneels before Nyerere pleading for mercy and forgiveness from his brother. “You plead on behalf of your brother and to the community in which you committed this crime, and then pay Shs.1million for my work,” Nyerere says. She agrees to the conditions as the crowd poured curses to her as they cheer Mr. Nyerere.
“We believe in him ever since he came in this district he has performed wonders arresting thieves who used to be a village problem especially in Ntungu parish, people affected by a similar problem pour moneys to bring him for help,” said Benson Tumwesigye, Ntungwa village defense secretary.
“Last month we mobilized money, invited him and he arrested seven village thieves who have terrorizing us over thefts especially domestic animals and peoples produce,” said Mr. Ismail Otafiire, a resident Ruhiira parish, Nyakitunda. Mr. John Mugyenyi said he had heard the services of Mr. Nyerere for long and that’s why he went there. But other residents are still doubtful of his powers and what they called exorbitant charges.
“He claims he has powers to heal, arrest, thieves but I am not yet convinced because he has not treated me and he has not worked long here so some of us are yet to be convinced, said Mr. Edson Kalanzi,a resident. Mr. Asaph Kabareebe, a resident of Ruhiira village said.
“True he might be working but the charges are exorbitant, imagine if I lose two goats and to get me that thief who stole them, you demand for Shs700,000.” But Mr. Nyerere defends the charges saying after getting the culprits in crime they refund this money in addition he says the amount is determined by his spirits (Jajaa’s).
Who is Mr. Nyerere?
Mr. Edson Nyerere says he is 34 years, a resident of Kyarisama, Kicwamba in Bunyaruguru, Rubirizi district but adds that he was born in Tanzania. Nyerere who says he is a Primary two graduate reveals he began this job of healing people, catching thieves, fight against criminality at an age of 9 years working with his grandfather Paul Mulumbi (RIP).
“I left school in Primary Two after being attacked by the spirits (Jaaja’s). So I began helping my grandfather who was also doing the same job until when he died and I continued in his footsteps,” says Nyerere. Mr. Nyerere believes he has helped and healed many people, prominent especially in the army, police, politicians, cultural leaders and though says it’s not his mode of work to publically disclose his clients. Through his efforts he says he got a first vehicle at the age of 16; a small car UXK 605 from client as a gift for healing his wife who was bedridden for years after being bewitched.
On family, he says he is married two ladies and has two children, a boy and a girl.
Some of his customers he says pose to him a big challenge because most times they want him strike dead their would be offenders. “Most people come demanding that I strike dead their suspected offenders even when I work my magic and tell them it’s not true, they begin saying I have been bribed. My work is not to kill people but bring sanity among communities, heal and end criminality,” says Mr. Nyerere.
He adds another challenge is attacks from the so called believers especially of Pentecostal and the Catholic churches. These have on several times attacked me and threatened me about my healing powers and performance. “Some two years back a catholic priest in Kabale concocted charges against me that I had raped his maternal aunt, authorities arrested me but with the intervention of residents I was released because the charges were flimsy geared to pull me down,” Mr. Nyerere adds.
He says despite these challenges he is committed to doing his work; ensure there is justice and people are healed. To accomplish his mission, he notes he has trained 10 people who are doing the same work in districts like Ntungamo, Rakai, Mbarara, Masaka, Isingiro, Kabale, Rukungiri, Bushenyi, Lyantonde, and Kiruhura among others. ……………………………………………………………………………………