West Pokot religious leaders protest forceful oath taking practice

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West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello (pictured) has said he has received complaints from residents concerning the forced rituals
West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello (pictured) has said he has received complaints from residents concerning the forced rituals

Religious leaders in West Pokot County have condemned the taking of oaths, forcefully administered by elders in the area. The elders force locals to take concoctions and blood in Riwo and Suam wards, North Pokot Sub County after it emerged the region is adversely affected by witchcraft, prompting the controversial move.

The rituals, which have been in place for two months now, have struck fear in pastors in the affected areas and some have moved to other regions. They have elicited mixed reactions from residents, with some supporting the rituals saying they’ll help to deal with witchcraft. Those against the acts said it’s against their belief system and not everyone should be forced to undergo the oath process.

The pastors, under the Pokot Pastors Network, held a peaceful protest in Kapenguria town to voice their complaints. They said the practices are against their faith and belief, citing the Bible forbids the rituals.

Led by Pokot Pastors Network chairperson, Rev. Ronald Chumum, they said some residents have been subjected to emotional trauma and others sent away from the community for failing to take the oath.

“Some people have been admitted in hospitals and have already recorded statements with the police. We have the right to worship according to the constitution,” he said, “Some people were worshipping at AIC Nakwomoru church and were forcefully removed from the church, beaten up and asked to drink the concoctions,” he said.

West Pokot Sub County Police Commander Mr. Anthony Wanjuu warned the community against the bizarre rituals adding that if anyone is found doing something that flouts the law action will be duly taken. He said so far seven people have been arrested for forcing residents to take part in the rituals.

County Commissioner Mr. Apollo Okello said some of the community members have raised complaints in his office concerning the case and were told that if they fail to take part in the acts the community will disown them.