Man Beaten to Death for Rejecting Ancestor Worship

Family Conflict Over Spiritual Beliefs Ends in Tragedy

Family Conflict Over Spiritual Beliefs Ends in Tragedy: Man Beaten and Burnt for Refusing Worship
PHOTO - Courtesy - Family Conflict Over Spiritual Beliefs Ends in Tragedy: Man Beaten and Burnt for Refusing Worship
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On Saturday, August 19, 2023, Aloysius Namwanja, aged 37, met his untimely death in Lulagala Cell, Kavule Ward, located within Nansana Municipality, Wakiso District. Namwanja’s life was taken allegedly due to his refusal to partake in traditional spirit worship. His own relatives are said to have beaten him to death and subsequently burned his body.

According to Deputy Spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire of Kampala Metropolitan Police, an ongoing investigation is focused on four members of one family, alongside unidentified individuals who are currently evading capture. They are being probed in connection to the fatal incident involving Namwanja.

Deputy Spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire stated, “Four individuals have been apprehended on charges of murder. We are in pursuit of others who are currently at large. The victim’s body has been transported to the mortuary for a post-mortem examination.”

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Reportedly, Namwanja visited his relatives around 10 AM on the aforementioned Saturday. During this family gathering, it was revealed that Namwanja’s rejection of spirit worship had been causing suffering in the lives of his relatives, as they believed the spirits were displeased with him.

The police account states that Namwanja was offered an opportunity to appease the spirits, which he declined, leading to a dispute. Subsequently, witnesses claimed that a few hours later, a family member became possessed by the spirits and began exhibiting erratic behavior. This individual allegedly attacked Namwanja, prompting other family members to join in the assault. The attack rendered Namwanja unconscious, after which he was burned on the chest.

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Luke Owoyesigyire explained, “Our suspicion is that it was during this physical altercation that Namwanja lost his life. Once the family members realized his demise, they attempted to remove evidence by undressing and washing the body.”

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The police promptly responded to the scene, securing it for investigation. The items purportedly used in the attack were collected, including sticks, and will be analyzed by forensic experts. Namwanja’s body is currently being examined by medical professionals at Mulago morgue.

Among the items found at the scene was marijuana, indicating potential use during the initial spirit worship. Four suspects have been apprehended by the police on charges of murder, while the primary suspect believed to have initiated the attack remains at large.

Instances of mob violence against individuals suspected of heretical practices or supernatural abilities are prevalent in the country. Police records indicate that in the preceding year, Uganda witnessed 28 fatalities and numerous other incidents involving suspected supernatural activities, all ascribed to mob actions.

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In efforts to combat this issue, law enforcement carried out campaigns in heavily affected areas, such as Greater Luweero and Greater Masaka, to educate the community against attributing their misfortunes to witchcraft or ancestral spirits. This initiative aimed to prevent resorting to ritual sacrifices as a means of alleviating misfortunes.


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