A new bill that seeks to ban the activities of witchdoctors is in the offing as the country grapples with rising cases of human sacrifice.
Ayivu County MP Bernard Atiku revealed that he has prepared a Private Members Bill that seeks to address issues of human sacrifice and other harmful practices.
“If you are to follow cases that concern human sacrifice in this country, all of them have been associated with witchcraft and shrines serve as a place where people go to consult witchdoctors or they are used to slaughter children,” said Mr Atiku, who is also the chairman of Uganda Parliamentary Forum for Children.
“There are fears that attempting to ban shrines might violate people’s freedom of worship but if it’s a religious shrine, there must be standards,” he added.
He was speaking during a consultative meeting at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala on Wednesday.
Mr Atiku said although the witchcraft Act prohibits the practice of ritual sacrifices that endanger or have the capacity to take away human life, the law is too inadequate to deal with the problem of human sacrifice.
However some local leaders said there should be a clear distinction between traditional healers, herbalists and witchdoctors. They also called for a clear definition of witchcraft to ease monitoring.
“Let us use the help of these universities that we have to do research and distinguish between traditional healers and witchdoctors. Remember some of the witchdoctors pretend to be traditional healers during the day and [become] witchdoctors at night,” said Mr Mathias Kigongo, Buikwe district chairman.
Police records have also shown, incidences of child sacrifice are on the increase, with 10 cases recorded in 2013. The Ugandan Internal Trafficking Report estimated the number to 12, whereas first-hand interviews by Humane Africa detailed 77 incidents.
A report by African Network for the prevention and protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN), a Pan-African child rights organization in 2009 also indicated that close to 3,000 children disappear from their homes annually but the plight for the majority of those children is never known nor documented.