Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hexing the Forestry Service?

Using magick to try and influence politics is common in some parts of Africa, and apparently in Uganda some enterprising magician decided at some point to cast a spell on the headquarters of the country's National Forestry Authority. Various items related to the spell were recently discovered in a plastic bag hidden in the ceiling of a senior manager's office.

The juju, as the stuff is locally known, was stacked in a plastic bag in the ceiling. The offices house the acting director of finance and administration, Hajati Aidat Nandutu.

It was not clear who hid the fetishes in the ceiling and for how long they had been there.


According to the acting executive director, Hudson Andrua, the items were discovered by a carpenter who was on routine office maintenance.

On close scrutiny, the plastic bag contained mysterious herbs, coffee beans wrapped in dry banana leaves, brown powder, dead fireflies and bats.

Here's a helpful tip when placing talismans or other magical items that this magician seems to have been well aware of - drop ceilings are great for concealing just about any sort of magical item. People seldom give much thought to the ceiling, so usually your item or items will remain undiscovered until the area above the drop needs work or maintenance.

The intention of this particular spell is hard for me to divine without a better understanding of African folk magick and the symbolism of bats, fireflies, and so forth in that particular magical system. Bats are associated with Saturn in the Western system which might suggest some sort of curse, but it's very possible that in African magick the meaning could be different. And why the Forestry Service? Did this particular magician hope to obtain some sort of concession for logging?

The Ugandan Forestry Authority has ben embroiled in scandals recently, so perhaps the spell was indeed a curse. Seeing as it's hard to say how long the items had been in the ceiling it might even be an old curse that is working well beyond its original objective.

Controversy hit the forestry body recently leading to the suspension of three senior managers. They are Damian Akankwasa, the executive director, Paul Drici, the director of plantations and Ernest Kaddu, who heads finance and administration.

Akankwasa was suspended by President Yoweri Museveni to pave way for investigation into the source of the sh900m which he said had been stolen from his bedroom. Drici was embroiled in a bribery scandal while Kaddu was suspended indefinitely over allegations of “improper financial management”.

The office in which the fetishes were discovered was occupied by Kaddu.

The forestry watchdog has also been accused of irregular allocation of concessions in forest reserves in Katugo in Nakasongola, Lendu, Mwenge and Nakawa, where the agency’s headquarters are located.

If the spell turns out to be recent it might be worth taking a look at who benefited the most from those irregular forest reserve concessions and see if any of them hired a sorcerer leading up to the concessions being awarded. Personally I can't think of any other reason someone might want to hex the Forestry Service, unless this was related to some personal issue with the particular manager whose office was targeted.

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