Humans ought to be ordinarily defined by their unique sense of humanity but we have since deviated from it in the name of ambition and desire for prosperity. And who is to blame, MONEY!
Loiusa May Alcott said, “Money is the root cause of all evil, and yet it is such a useful root that we cannot get on without it anymore than we can without potatoes.” I couldn’t say anything less or better! Simply put, money is a necessary evil. It is the motivation behind almost every ambition if not all.
On the 13th of August 2018, it was reported in the news that authorities recovered 5 buried bodies, victims of human sacrifice from a witchdoctor’s shrine. In an interview, one of the suspects revealed that he killed and buried human beings in his shrine to get wealth and riches! When did murder become the cost for wealth and riches?
Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more humans especially children, usually as an offering to a deity, as part of a ritual. In 2016, The African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) reported that almost 3000 children disappear from their homes every year.
The law on human sacrifice ordinary takes the criminal realm by nature. It is captured as murder by The Penal Code Act under Sections 188 and 189 whose punishment is imprisonment for life. At the least, when the offender fails to accomplish their goals, they will be charged with attempted murder, sometimes kidnap and any other offence that will legally fit the facts at hand.
Other laws on human sacrifice are The Witchcraft Act of 1957. It was very hard to try anyone under this act due it to its vague expression and it has gradually been abandoned. In 2009, The Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act was enacted to regulate the killing of humans for human parts; it contains several sections on trafficking for use of body parts.
In 2016, The Children’s Act was amended to further protect children from violence and provide a right to access child protection services. This development specifically prohibits child sacrifice and trafficking and also ensures a service for children who have been victimized.
The legal implications of human sacrifice are not as grave as the crime itself. The law will hardly subject the perpetrator to a similar fate due to the slow approach to the death penalty in Uganda thus letting the perpetrator live their natural life whether in prison or not while the victims breathed their last or suffer untold physical and/or psychological pain.
This explains why society will usually rise in arms to “punish” the “sacrificer” once identified albeit the authorities sometimes salvage the situation before ‘all hell breaks loose’ thereby saving the offender.
The Justice Law and Order Sector has however been proactive in implementing the sanctions imposed by the law. In 2016, the prosecution adduced evidence in the case of Uganda Vs Namuyanja & Anor, to prove that the private parts, tongue, small and large intestines of the victim were removed and taken to an unknown destination and the victim was tortured before death.” His Lordship Joseph Murangira, the trial Judge convicted and sentenced the 82 year aged Namuyanja Hanifa to 18 years imprisonment for participating in the murder and act of child sacrifice of her own granddaughter.
Another famous and recent case in point is that of the ‘very rich’ Kampala Businessman Godfrey Kato Kajubi who received a life sentence in 2012 for the ritual murder of a 12 year old boy who was beheaded and his genitals cut off.
Unfortunately, by the time the vice is identified, the damage is usually already done. If the law can only do so much about human sacrifice, and yet the vice lives on, what could be done to curtail it?
Emphasis should be had on implementing precautionary and prevention measures. Individually, one must try to avoid circumstances that could put you in harm’s way like moving alone in the wee hours of the night, moving with unidentified persons in risky places and notifying the authorities of any suspicious activity and people.
Sensitize and educate children about human and child sacrifice, and enlighten them on how to avert the chances of being victims of the same. Also engage in learning a few self-defensive tactics to help you escape when attacked by potential human sacrificers.
A problem shared is half solved!
Asiimire Isabel is a Legal Associate at PACE ADVOCATES.