By Baluku Alex
Cultivators and pastoralists from Nyakatonzi sub-county in Kasese district today have joined hands to cause the arrest of a 53 year-year old man due to a prolonged drought for which they believe was responsible for.
Africa in general and Uganda in particular are facing climate change challenges. Since most Ugandan communities depend on agriculture as the backbone of the economy for sustenance, some of these, including the Bakonzo, Batooro, Bamba and Batwa have been involved in the practice of rainmaking rituals.
Wilson Karamaji Kwerema, a resident of Bwanika village in Kamuli parish, a self-proclaimed rain maker was arrested by police in the sub-county on the orders of the farmers and pastoralists following a prolonged drought that has hit the area.
A section of farmers and pastoralists camped at the sub-county headquarters complaining that the accused person solicited money and physical items from them promising that rain would befall the area but in vain. They also said they decided to cause his arrest after observing that their crops had started drying up and cattle dying because of drought.
One of the residents in the area, Eva Kwegarukamu said that they regularly pay Kwerema or else as it is argued, their crops dries up and animals die due drought. She added that Kwerema has lately become very boastful of his powers, particularly when drunk.
They have since asked the authorities to force the accused person to vacate the sub-county. She says that no rain could come until all villagers collect offertories and go to his home to request him for the rain.
Speaking to Rwenzori Daily, the Sub-county Chairperson, Swizin Bukenya, said they arrested the suspect to calm down the situation.
According to Bukenya, he was forced to notify the Katwe Divisional Police Commander, who then set tomorrow as the day for the accused person to appear before the residents and hence come up with a way forward.
In early September 2019, a rainmaker who was only identified as Muhindo in Kasese district presented himself to police for protection after a section of youth in Karambi Sub County threatened to lynch him due to prolonged drought that is a great threat for the agrarian community and for which they believed he was responsible for.
Crops were beginning to dry up and there was an impending threat of famine. The young people followed Muhindo and camped outside the police station, demanding that the Karambi Sub county chief not release him until he had made rain.
The young people called for the police and other authorities at the sub-county to rescue them from this plight. And to rescue them, they argued, the authorities needed to detain the rainmaker until a downpour occurred.
In Kasese district, the worst drought occurred during the period between November 1982 and June 1983 (8 months) with a severity index of 43.2, and the deficit was 476.3mm.