Magwi ‘rainmakers’ given 4-day ultimatum to end drought or face consequences

Magwi ‘rainmakers’ given 4-day ultimatum to end drought or face consequences
Crops wither from prolonged drought. [Courtesy]

Two sons of a former rainmaker in Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria are living in fear after villagers accused them of prolonged drought in the area.

The men’s trouble started about two months ago when one of the NGO’s gave locals seedlings to villagers to plant ahead of the expected long rains in March.

However, one of the villagers, an elder son a renown village rainmaker, now deceased, was left out of the list of beneficiaries.

The agitated man, who is believed to have inherited his father’s supernatural power, swore that the villagers will suffer the wrath of his fury, unless he also got a share of the seedlings.

“He told the villagers that they should find an alternative source of water because he was not going to release the rain,” said one of the locals who spoke to The City Review of the bizarre incident.

Locals now claim that Polung’anyi village in Magwi County has not seen sufficient rainfall since March. “Sometimes you’d see cloud forming and then all over sudden it starts moving to those sides of Agoro, Abara or mountainous and forested area around Juba,” added our source.

Last weekend, tired villagers, some of who have lost crops and animals to the ‘man-made-draught’, marched to the former homestead of a rainmaker and arrested two sons whom they frog matching as they threatened to give both them. They had accused of bringing suffering to the village by ‘detaining’ the rain.

The two men accused of bringing suffering to the entire village have since been given four days ultimatum to ensure that it rains or they get further punishment from the angry locals.  

“They were arrested on Friday because there is no rain in Magwi and crops are withering. Because his father was a rainmaker people thought he is the one preventing it from raining because he complained last time about the distribution of the seeds that his family did not receive,” a government official who spoke to City Review in confidence said.

When contacted, Otto David, the Magwi County Commissioner said: “I was away. I will let you know after I’ve confirmed.”  

A local farmer in Magwi, Oketa Ben whose maize plants have reached the fruiting stage told The City Review that drought is severe and would likely result in a poor harvest in the first planting season if it fails to rain within the next few days.

“The impact of the drought is serious. Crops are withering already,” Oketa said this would worsen the existing hunger situation in the country.

Magwi is one of the food basket regions in South Sudan.

In June 2021, a mob comprising youth and women in Mura Lopit village of Lafon County, Eastern Equatoria, buried alive a 43-year-old rainmaker Lodovico Hobon Angelo for failing to bring rain.