On Wednesday 12th October, Mama Fina called a press conference in which she categorically warned all traditional healers and native herbalists from claiming to heal Ebola. The lady Supremo of traditional doctors insisted that no single native doctor should even attempt to attend to people infected with the Ebola virus.
A few hours later, Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, on Wednesday re-echoed the same sentiments when he ordered traditional healers to stop treating sick people in a bid to halt the spread of Ebola, which has already claimed lives of 19 individuals in the impoverished country. His instructions followed a regional ministerial meeting in Kampala, to discuss the emergency response to the outbreak, after Uganda last month announced its first fatality from the highly contagious disease since 2019.
What however makes news here is the fact that Mama Fiina managed to pre-empt President Museveni’s speech, to an extent of unbelievable accuracy. Did the President call and brief Mama Fiina before he delivered the speech in which he also directed security officials to arrest all people suspected of having contracted the often-fatal viral hemorrhagic fever if they refused to go into isolation? If it’s true, then she is worth of a lengthy discussion on this forum.
Mama fiina attracts attention because of the modest upbringing she has gone through to become one of the most popular/influential women in the country. Her charitable work where she makes donations to the needy has made her one of the biggest attractions in the country. Her humble background of having no formal education and working initially as a maid and the occupational choice of being a renowned traditional medicine woman, who among religious people would be addressed as a “witch doctor” raises eyebrows.
She is a renowned supporter of the ruling party NRM and a very close friend to President Yoweri Museveni. Her proximity to the Ugandan President came to light when her husband the late Major Kigundu was assassinated by killerslinked to the Islamic fundamentalists.
During that tense moment, a sobbing Mama Fiina shocked Ugandans when she openly called the President on her mobile phone to tell him about the assassination. It was evident that the witchdoctor was in possession of a direct hotline with the head of state.
I mean, how many people of her education level can boast of being in possession of the President`s hotline! Even ministers don’t have that hotline. Only a few can easily access the President, anywhere, anytime. If the President indeed managed to first brief her before he addressed the nation, then she can be regarded as a super star of mega proportions.Sensitive Questions. But if she never got that presidential call, then it raises another matter of a security nature. Questions arise if the presidential speech is pre-empted; who leaks the presidential secrets? What are the motives of the agent?
Is presidential information sold to any willing buyer? What if that information is sold to a hostile country who has bad intentions? In that case, the President is not safe at all. It reminds us of an incident when a leader of one neighboring country which is quietly considered to be hostile to the Kampala establishment (after having fought three bloody battles in Congo), revealed to the Ugandan President that some people who were hostile to his country had met him at State House and discussed issues of treasonable nature.
The Ugandan leader was shocked and embarrassed to an extent that he indeed conceded that he had met those particular people but he denied that there was anything conspiratorial about that meeting. This time, there was no doubt that President Museveni’s secrets were being leaked by someone from within his own State House chambers. But if it turns out that he made the call to pre-empt his own speech, then Mama Fiina can safely be regarded as the most powerful witchdoctors in the world.
What stokes controversy in this relationship between the President and this witchdoctor is the fact that the President is known to be deeply inclined to the evangelical movement. His wife, the First Lady Janet Kataha Museveni is a staunch born again Christian, while one of his daughters, Patience, owns a huge born again church in one of the Kampala leafy suburbs of Bunga. With those sentiments in mind, you will wonder how President Museveni does his things. He seems not to be stuck in one enclave. During his early days, he was a known Marxist and an atheist who despised religion and its tendencies.
One time, he shocked the nation when he revealed that during his bush war days, he used the services of a witchdoctor who convinced him to jump a slaughtered sheep to enable him win the war. On another occasion, he told religious leaders that he doesn’t believe in the concept of heaven. By saying so, he was diluting the real epicenter of the Christian faith which revolves around HEAVEN as a reward for good conduct on earth while bad behavior is rewarded with fire in hell.
In fact, without heaven, most faiths cannot stand the test of time. That’s why they extoll the concept of resurrection as fundamental element of the Christian faith. President Museveni has also managed to alternate his philosophical beliefs by graduating from being a communist throughout his youthful years, to a seasoned capitalist. Therefore, hobnobbing with a witchdoctor doesn’t necessarily come as a complete surprise.
- Fred Daka Kamwada is a seasoned journalist, blogger and political analyst for over a decade in Uganda
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