Beliefs and practices of witchcraft intervention among the Akamba christians of Machakos district
Mbondo, Benedict Jones
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Witchcraft remains an issue the Church in Kenya. Many second and third generation Christians are Confused about what to think of witchcraft and how to handle those who are caught in its power. The Akarnba community has been evangelized and indeed has lived with Christianity for more than a Century. Most Christians adhere to Christian beliefs and rituals. Missionaries preached Christianity to the Akarnba and urged them to denounce some of their cultural practices. In particular, they branded witchcraft demonic and strongly condemned those who were practising it. They pointed out the Biblical position on witchcraft which portrays God as condemning the practice. In particular this study sought to investigate the beliefs and practices of witchcraft intervention among the Akamba Christians of Machakos District. It is to be noted that the Akamnba seem to have embraced the ideals of Christianity in total. This is true so long as there are no problems challenging their lives. However, whenever misfortunes come or strike, the same Akamba Christians result to their traditional beliefs and in particular specialists who use mystical powers to give directives on how to address the situations. Generally, the Akarnba believe that everything that God created was good for His people. Therefore, any bad thing is not associated with God but evil. For this reason, the Akamba take action to protect themselves by consulting mystical powers. Respondents from each of the three divisions of Machakos District namely: Mumbuni, Katangi and Mitaboni were selected. There were two hundred and seventy respondents in total. Out of these, one hundred and fifty six were Christians, thirty officials of the Church, twelve specialists, twelve local leaders, thirty people from the local population and thirty youth. Results were analyzed by use of frequencies, percentages, tables and graphs. Data was collected using interview schedules, Focused Group Discussions and passive participant observation. Both primary and secondary data was utilized. The study revealed that beliefs and practices of witchcraft are real among the Akamba Christians of Machakos District. At least (80%) of Christians admitted frequent and constant consultation to traditional specialists commonly known as "Awe". It is found that most Christians irrespective of gender, marital status and age seek and consult these powers when confronted by problems. In this connection, the Akarnba Christians are seen in behaviors that subscribe to witchcrall such as wearing protective charms, keeping broken pieces of pot on top of their houses and complaining of' being bewitched by their fellow Christians. The voluntary and repeated confessions and lynching of witches, some of' whom are Christians proves that the belief in witchcraft exists among Akarnba Christians. This being the case those who do not openly admit witchcrat's existence do so on the surface. It is against this background that this research attempted to discuss believes and practices of witchcraft intervention among the Akamba Christians of Machakos District.