Witchcraft Act 1957

Chapter number: 

124

In-force: 

Yes

 

CHAPTER 124

THE WITCHCRAFT ACT.

Arrangement of Sections.

Section

Interpretation.

Offences and penalties in relation to witchcraft.

Imputation of witchcraft.

Possession of articles used in witchcraft.

Evidence of reputation.

Confiscation and destruction of witchcraft implements.

CHAPTER 124 
THE WITCHCRAFT ACT.

Commencement: 28 March, 1957.

An Act to make provision for the prevention of witchcraft and the punishment of persons practising witchcraft.

1. Interpretation.

For the purposes of this Act, “witchcraft” does not include bona fide spirit worship or the bona fide manufacture, supply or sale of native medicines.

2. Offences and penalties in relation to witchcraft.

Any person who directly or indirectly threatens another with death by witchcraft or by any other supernatural means commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.

Any person who directly or indirectly threatens to cause disease or any physical harm to another, or to cause disease or harm to any livestock or harm to any property of whatever sort or another by witchcraft or by any other supernatural means commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years.

Any person who practises witchcraft or who holds himself or herself out as a witch, whether on one or more occasions, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.

Any person who hires or procures another person to practise witchcraft or who for evil purposes consults or consorts with another who practises witchcraft or holds himself or herself out as a witch commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.

3. Imputation of witchcraft.

Any person who, other than to a person in authority, imputes the use of
witchcraft to another, if any harm results to that other as a result of the imputation, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.

4. Possession of articles used in witchcraft.

Any person, other than a person in authority acting in the course of his or her duty, in whose possession or control any article used in practising witchcraft is found, other than bona fide for scientific purposes or as a curio, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.

In any prosecution under this section the prosecution shall be required to show that the article found is by common repute or belief an article which is used for the purposes of witchcraft, but shall not be required to show the particular purpose or significance of the article.

5. Evidence of reputation.

Notwithstanding the provisions of any law or practice to the contrary, where any person is charged with the commission of an offence under this Act, evidence may be adduced—

to show the reputation of that person as a witch;

to establish that by common repute any substance, means, process or ceremony proved to have been administered, used or performed, or attempted or caused or advised to be administered, used or performed, is commonly administered, used or performed in the practice of witchcraft.

6. Confiscation and destruction of witchcraft implements.

A court on convicting any person for an offence against this Act shall order the confiscation and destruction of any article brought before it either before or after the trial which the court is satisfied was or might have been used in the commission of the offence.

History: Cap. 108.

Commissioners’ note: The Supreme Court of Uganda held, in Attorney General vs. Salvatori Abuki and Richard Obuga, that former section 7 of the Act, which dealt with exclusion orders, was unconstitutional.