A prime building in Nairobi’s Jericho estate has never been occupied for more than 20 years over allegations of witchcraft.
Those who have attempted to set up businesses there failed miserably. The ground floor and more spacious rooms upstairs that would make for lodgings or conference halls have been covered with cobwebs and dust while the balconies sport overgrown grass.
Jericho residents linked its doom to witchcraft cast by a one-time tenant: “People believe someone could have left behind something in form of witchcraft,” reckons area assistant Chief Fred Mbaka, adding that “even those who rented a section of the building sometimes back have reported the same. Maybe clergymen can give us answers.”
Some business and property owners have shifted to juju either to attract customers or beat unending competition.
A few months ago, Mary Jumba, a businesswoman who owned a grocery shop at Jogoo Road’s Uhuru Market revealed to The Nairobian how she was forced to quit after poor returns.
She claims to have found strange paraphernalia including bones, human hair and black powder in a polythene bag under her stall.
“I don’t know who put them there. I had to quit because my business was not doing well,” she said.
Martin Keya, a taxi driver at City centre said; “even in our business witchcraft is widespread. In fact, early this month while counting the day’s profit in my vehicle around 1am outside my home in Ruaka, I saw a shopkeeper outside in company of a witchdoctor. They were busy sprinkling things on the shop. They took off when I started the engine.”
Jamal Bakari, a witchdoctor in Ngara told The Nairobian that, “we have treated fly whisks for barbershops to keep customers loyal, knives for butchers, brooms for businesses and even water to sprinkle around your business and home for protection and attracting customers for just Sh10,000 depending on your location”.
Bishop Morris Mwarandu of Redeemed Gospel along Outering Road does not dismiss the fact that some Nairobians have embraced juju.
“Even in the Bible, some characters had serpents and when they threw them on the ground Aaron’s staff swallowed them. People have aligned themselves to worshiping Satan or Jesus.
“Such buildings can be sanctified if those behind witchcraft can come clean, we can pray for them and cleanse the building,” said the Bishop.