Uncontrolled witchcraft practices at Ssezibwa falls in Buikwe district are discouraging local tourists from visiting the falls despite its beautiful scenery.
According to legendary tales, Ssezibwa was born of Nakangu Tebatesa, the wife of Nsubuga Ssebwato. It is alleged that Nakangu gave birth to two twine rivers namely Wasswa alias Ssezibwa and Kato alias Mubeya in Nyenga.
As a result of the legend, many witches flock Ssezibwa falls with a number of followers to perform rituals seeking for blessings of twins.
They bring along sets of drums, local brew, fetishes and animals such as sheep, and goats for ritual sacrifice.
The falls are close to caves and rocks. The most visited cave belongs to ‘Magogwe’ a big snake said to have been born together with a twin human brother.
Janet Kajumba, a local guide at the falls notes that the management of the place is challenged to convince witches and their groups to pay the Shillings 5000 entry fees to access the place.
Kajumba notes that many people fear to spend time at the falls due to the constant ritual practices performed there.
She explains that many local tourists reach the falls and decline to cross the bridge at Sssezibwa for natural walks in the bamboo forest fearing to jump fetishes recklessly dropped in the place.
John Wasswa Muluuya, another local guide at the caves, says they have been involved in running battles with impostors who claim to receive visions to perform rituals in the place for so many years.
He says given the mythical tales around the place, management is only interested in setting up the place to depict the tales without threatening and passing over false prophesies as imposters do to rob people of their hard earned money.
“I spend much of my time to guide people against imposters who find their way in to the place, Ssezibwa remains important in Buganda kingdom as it is believed to be the origin where king (Kabaka) derives one of his titles Ssabalongo, which literally means head of all twine fathers”.
Derrick Mugoya a resident of Mukono Central Division notes that Ssezibwa is one of the places with a cool environment for relaxation but the rituals performed there discourages many from visiting it regularly.
Elijah Mulembya Bogeere, the The Kyaggwe County Head (Ssekiboobo), says the problem witch doctors invading cultural place is common at Buganda’s cultural sites under the disguise of receiving visions.
He notes that the practice discourages tourism, saying that they have come up with a method of training caretakers of cultural places.
Bogeere reveals that they are targeting about 20 important places, which touch on the origins and behaviors of Buganda in Kyaggwe alone.
“The county together with the Mengo tourism department we have started training people on the importance of cultural sites and how to manage them. We condemn quack acts that even involve human sacrifices”