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"The person who shies at the possibility of increased responsibilities or at the prospect of future uncertainties is hardly worthy of life itself, for life consists of uncertainties, problems and challenges of various types."

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Under the Same Sun - A site out to fight the cause of the Albinos

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Expose those behind albino murders, Tanzania urged


* MP says politicians use witchdoctors

* Warns albino killings will increase ahead of elections

* High Court says two trials have been stopped


Rights campaigners say Tanzania must lift a shroud of secrecy surrounding wealthy buyers who commission albino killings for witchcraft, after one lawmaker admitted many politicians use witchdoctors themselves...Click Here to Read the Rest

Tanzanian albinos shelter in terror from killers

In remote northwest Tanzania, two parents sob for their 10-year-old albino son, who was beheaded to stop him screaming by men who then hacked off his leg in front of his father.

The family had previously tried to have their boy registered at a school where many albinos shelter but he was refused entry because it was full...Click Here to Read the Rest

Monday, November 23, 2009

Get to know How you can send donations to Albinos in Tanzania

Check out the following link for information on how and where to send donations to Albinos in Tanzania:
Want to send donations to Albinos in Tanzania? Here's how

Donor and delegation kept waiting at school

Canadian philanthropist Peter Ash, who is an albino, smears sunscreen lotion on the hands of a pupil at Mitindo Primary School in Misungwi District, Mwanza Region, on Saturday. Pastor Ash was kept waiting outside the school for over two hours before he was finally let in

Canadian donor was at the weekend temporarily barred from visiting a primary school in Misungwi District in Mwanza Region.

Mr Peter Ash and his delegation and several local and foreign journalists were stopped at the gate of Mitindo Primary School, which has over 100 pupils with albinism.

The visitors were only allowed in after speaking on the phone with Mwanza Regional Commissioner Abbas Kandoro, over two hours after arriving at the school...Read the Rest Here

Missing link in Albino killings

Story courtesy of The Guardian Newspaper Tanzania

"...the only missing link in the pyramid of albino killers is the rich man who looks for albino human parts"


A Canadian-based human rights group has questioned Tanzania's commitment to stop albino killings for failing to name the forces behind the macabre acts.

Peter Ash, President and founder of a Canadian-based NGO observed here on Friday that the only missing link in the pyramid of albino killers is the rich man who looks for albino human parts.

“So far, it is traditional healers and killers that have been named and brought to justice. We want the consumers, the rich that can afford million of shillings to be named” said Ash.

Ash was addressing an International Press Conference at Nyawilimwa village after laying a wreath on the grave of a ten-year child Gasper Elkana, who was brutally murdered and his leg chopped off at Geita District, Mwanza Region by unidentified assailants.

Gasper, who had gone out for a short-call escorted by his father at around 20 hours on the night of October 23, 2009, was slashed by a machete and when his guarding father made an attempt to help him, he too was hit on the head and wounded seriously.

“I read about Gasper’s death with profound shock and imagined the calamity as having struck my family, because this family and mine have so many things in common. The age of Elkana Gasper’s father and I tally and so do the late and my son’s, ” he said.

At least 54 Tanzanian albinos have been murdered since 2007, with most of the killings taking place in the remote northwest regions of Shinyanga and Mwanza, where superstition runs deep.

The High Court, sitting in Shinyanga municipality to preside over cases involving albino killings, delivered its first judgement in September where it convicted and sentenced to death three accused persons.

Reading the ruling, which lasted about an hour, High Court Judge Gabriel Rwakibalila said the court was satisfied that the evidence tendered by the prosecution side proved beyond reasonable doubt that three of the convicts were involved in the killings of the ablbino.

The same court early this month, delivered its second judgment by convicting and sentencing to death by hanging four accused persons.

The immediate reaction to the ruling by some sections was to dismiss it as a non-starter. However, it restored the trust of many people in the country’s judicial system. Meanwhile, chairman of Tanzania Albino Society (TAS) Mwanza Region Alfred Kapole wants the government to speed up the pending albino cases.

He expressed disappointment that the cases have stalled for the second time for lack of funds.

Albinos lack pigment in their eyes, skin or hair, making their life difficult in Africa where there is plenty of sunshine and they are more susceptible to skin cancer and sunburn.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Impassioned Plea: Please reduce the Red Tape!

I watched on TV the almost insurmountable red tape that Peter Ash had to contend with the other day when he went to deliver donations to a school that has albino children in Misungwi district in Mwanza.

His entourage was locked out and it seems there were express orders from high up not to allow them to get in and deliver the donations.

When Mwanza Regional Commissioner, Abbas Kandoro, heard what had happened, he called the officials on the ground at the school and asked them to allow the donations to be delivered.

We at this blog ask: Must this red tape persist?

The officials on the ground know that the albinos at the school, and in other parts of the country, are in dire need of some things that would make life a bit bearable for them. Why, then, should there be opposition when someone finds it in his heart to donate such things to them?

Furthermore, Peter Ash, being an albino, knows what his brothers and sisters, the albinos, need. Thus, his gesture of donating to them should be received with open arms.

Our advice: Guys, please reduce the red tape!.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Albino killings and the death sentence: All murder cases are not equal, are they?

Story courtesy of The Guardian newspaper Tanzania (7/11/2009)

By Ani Jozen

Rapid convictions and sentencing of suspects of albino killings in Shinyanga region have put activists for the abolishment of the death penalty on a tight spot, as society generally was gratified that their hanging would send a solid message to other hunters of albinos’ organs.

The death penalty abolition lobby, at pains to change societal attitudes which are overly uninterested in making criminals better people and prefer to get them out of the way, and where relevant by death, are rushing in. This is vital.

The question is vital because if society will be convinced of the futility of hanging those convicted of involvement in killings of skin-disabled people, the most grotesque spate of criminality the country has seen for a while yet, they will have succeeded in discrediting the death penalty itself.

If it is possible to spare albino killings convicts of their carrying out of their sentences, then it is potentially likely that it will be possible to seek formal halting of application of such sentencing. So far it’s a private decision.

No such moratorium (freezing) has been declared on application of death penalties, but the president just hasn’t felt it proper to sign any of the pending sentences.

Activists insist that so long as no such sentences has been applied in the past 16 years, then none will be applied, in which case it is proper to affirm the irrelevance of the sentences in the pursuit either of justice or of alleviating criminality by correcting offenders. Yet it is clear that when issues of death sentence arise, correction is not an option.

The principal argument about the application of the death sentence is that error can’t be ruled out 100 per cent in any conviction, and that unconsidered evidence could arise in future to invalidate the view that the convict was sufficiently responsible for that event.

If the sentence would have been carried out already, the damage is irreparable, so it is better that presumably correctly sentenced people should live than wrongly sentenced people put to death, even if that is rare. No wrongful death is too rare to count.

It isn’t surprising that the sentencing of convicts of albino killings brings out activists against the death penalty, as if they don’t combat this particular spate of convictions – which have a high likelihood of being carried out – they lose the battle altogether.

They don’t intend to create a ‘Kafkaesque’ situation or say one that is close to Animal Farm, the harrowing contradiction of ‘no animal shall sleep on a bed – with sheets.’ They would have to adapt their slogan to ‘abolish the penalty, except for albino killers.’

Yet this is precisely what is refreshing about the debate, as to whether it is of any use at the moment to tell society that even those who hack innocent people for selling of their body parts should be retained in this or that prison.

And especially if the issue is that they will change and become better people, it is hard to see how that becomes convincing to the breadth of society – that they will not be wishing to earn a million shillings for several albino body parts. There is acute need for deterrence as the moment.

The judiciary and the government at a wider level are still smarting from a tormenting somersault on the traders and taxi driver killings by police officers. Letting the albino murderers would send a signal to others that all they risk is eating unbalanced diet in jail, and they retain a chance of being loose again, since ‘where there is life there is hope.’ It would mean that the government passes up a good opportunity for showing to the world it intends to ameliorate its shattered image, from albino killings.

Activists will be confronted with this consideration, since it is far more positive for the government to rectify the country’s image about injustice to albinos than worrying about justice or presumed right to life of their convicted killers.

At times those convicted faced hostile evidence from their own wives as to how they went about seeking out or grabbing the children they hacked to death, a line of evidence no future ‘fact’ can unsettle as to guilt on that account. There are few ‘rare’ facts that are likely here.

One could of course be accused of being simplistic as to whether any case in law is completely closed such that no fact could be unearthed in future to unsettle it.

The response however may not be that far off, as this is also covered by democracy, that elected officials, when acting fairly and receiving clear and distinctive legal advice on a particular case, can examine each case on its own merit. For instance if a conviction includes corroborating evidence by those who are close to the convict, it is deemed safe.

When however one has been convicted entirely on the basis of evidence adduced in court by strangers, and close ones like wife or siblings remained deeply skeptical of that evidence, such person may be placed in life imprisonment but no execution take place.

Just as there can’t be a blanket fear of new and unsettling evidence, so also is it necessary not to rule out such evidence simply because the issue is albino killings. If a proper rule of thumb is placed on that specific detail no miscarriage of law is likely.

That also means it is hard to defend the ‘no death penalty’ maxim in a blanket manner, unless it was presumed that no crime merits suffering death as punishment.

This too is covered in law and would tend to place albino killings at a different level from murder generally, as the latter is quite often tied to conflict, and at times in situations where the assailant was also in danger, and yet the law qualifies such conviction for the death penalty.

That could of course be commuted to life imprisonment, but when a man has cynically, even in the testimony of his wife, gone about harvesting body parts with a panga, the rest of us can be forgiven for not treating him on a par with human beings. He wouldn’t deserve it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Albino killings: Govt to `smoke out` all suspects

Snapshots

Several other legislators also contributed to debate on the matter, saying the killings had tarnished Tanzania’s image to the extent that the country was now considered insensitive to human rights or incapable of guaranteeing the safety of some of its people.

Others recommended that court proceedings be accelerated and convicts be punished without delay since those who had their loved ones so brutally killed had begun questioning the government’s capacity to deal with serious crime.

.................... ........................
Story courtesy of The Guardian newspaper Tanzania

The government has vowed to “smoke out of their hideouts” all people suspected of murdering, maiming, intimidating or harassing albinos for whatever reason.

It has also announced that it will do all that is in power to “sever once and for all the alliance between these evil-minded people and the witchdoctors misleading them into committing the crimes”.

The promise comes from Home Affairs deputy minister Khamis Kagasheki, who told the National Assembly here yesterday that nine of the 90 albino killer suspects currently in custody are traditional healers.

Responding to a question by Special Seat legislator Maria Hewa, who demanded clarification from the government on the number of people arrested so far in connection with albino killings, Kagasheki said police had taken “aggressive measures” and held a number of suspects.

“Between June 2007 and March 2009, a total of 90 suspects had already been put in custody and brought to justice,” he said.

He added: “Investigations are continuing on 17 cases in the Lake Victoria zone, nine cases are pending in the High Court, two have already been decided and seven accused have been convicted and sentenced to death in Shinyanga Region. Four accused were found guilty as recently as Monday this week and sentenced to death.”

In a supplementary question, the legislator called on the government to make sure that all suspected albino killers were taken “to where they belong (custody) alongside their acquaintances pretending to be traditional healers”.

Several other legislators also contributed to debate on the matter, saying the killings had tarnished Tanzania’s image to the extent that the country was now considered insensitive to human rights or incapable of guaranteeing the safety of some of its people.

Others recommended that court proceedings be accelerated and convicts be punished without delay since those who had their loved ones so brutally killed had begun questioning the government’s capacity to deal with serious crime.

Can the death sentence deter Albino killings?

“Hangings cannot put albino killings to an end. The death penalty is not reliable enough as a solution. We need to think of better and more definitive ways out”

“Even after the first group of people suspected of murdering albinos was sentenced to death by hanging, there was no improvement in the situation. There was no noticeable change in people’s behaviour. Instead, more and more albinos were murdered in Geita and several other parts of the Lake Victoria zone”

`Battle` Over Death Penalty Once More

Story courtesy of The Guardian newspaper Tanzania

Physical protection is a much better way of ensuring the safety of albinos than sentencing to death people behind their killings, human rights activists have insisted.

Harold Sungusia, public engagement coordinator with the Dar es Salaam-based Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), said in an interview with this paper on Tuesday that there was no country where capital punishment had served as an effective enough deterrent to homicide.

He was speaking in the recent sentencing to death by the High Court of several people found guilty of killing albinos.

“Even after the first group of people suspected of murdering albinos was sentenced to death by hanging, there was no improvement in the situation. There was no noticeable change in people’s behaviour. Instead, more and more albinos were murdered in Geita and several other parts of the Lake Victoria zone,” he said.

He added: “That was enough proof that the death penalty is not a lasting solution and that it does not scare anyone into treating albinos as normal humans.”

Sungusia, a lawyer, said capital punishment fell short on three counts as a deterrent – “changing offenders into good law-abiding people, ensuring that one does not relapse into crime, and ensuring that convicts rejoin their communities rehabilitated on completion of their punishment.

He noted that some people were sentenced to death for crimes they had not committed and that it was “simply not practicable” for people hanged after being convicted to enjoy their rights should evidence absolving them be made available after they are hanged.

“Hangings cannot put albino killings to an end. The death penalty is not reliable enough as a solution. We need to think of better and more definitive ways out,” he added.

But Sungusia stated that Tanzanian laws gave the courts the power to sentence albino killers and all other murderers to death.

“Even if the President decides to sign warrants effectively sanctioning the hanging of murder convicts, he would be perfectly right because that is provided for by our laws,” he pointed out.

He elaborated: “The problem lies in the laws we have. Some are so hopelessly outdated and therefore so bad that they call for urgent amendment or scrapping,” he said, adding that there was also “an urgent need to shift from criminology to victimology in order to restore justice in the society”.

LHRC director Francis Kiwanga similarly noted that the nation has failed to arrest the killings of albinos and that the death penalty has not been implemented in Tanzania in the last 16 or so years.

“The failure to actually hang murder convicts to death for this long means that there is no need to continue embracing the death sentence. Rather, we should concentrate on ways of controlling the killings of albinos,” he added.

But law professor Abdallah Safari trashed suggestions that the death penalty be abolished, saying those recommending as much were uncritical advocates of western philosophies.

“There is no way I can buy those suggestions. Rising numbers of countries I know are very seriously contemplating reinstating capital punishment. How strange it is that there are Tanzanians bent on doing the opposite!” he said.

Prof Safari said abolishing capital punishment would be going against religious and most other social norms “because all the holy books support the death penalty”.

However, he explained that sentence ought to be executed “only when there was no alternative way of getting a solution to the problem on the strength of which the sentence was passed”.

He insisted that in extreme cases like the killings of innocent albinos, the death penalty was easily the most logical way of dealing with the problem.

Another legal expert, Dr Edmund Sengondo Mvungi, was of the view that the question of whether to retain the death penalty was “a long-standing issue as far as the Holy Books and schools of law are concerned”.

He too said he did not view capital punishment as an effective enough deterrent in cases involving murder, adding: “Albino killings have their roots in traditional beliefs, and this makes the crime extremely difficult to kick out of society. It is like planning to end trading in narcotics,” he said.

He elaborated: “I must state categorically that it is just not right to kill an albino or anyone else because doing so deprives the victims of their basic right to life. But it would be equally not right to sentence murder convicts to death because that too would mean denying them their basic right to life.”

Dr Mvungi stressed that it would be neither right nor proper to use “the principle of negation in seeking solutions to problems”, and called on society “to appreciate the fact that albinos need and deserve as much love, protection and feeling of belonging from their respective communities as everyone else”.

“These people are a minority, they are desperate and they lack protection. Therefore they badly need social integration and recognition,” he said.

The High Court of Tanzania, sitting in Shinyanga Region specifically to preside over cases involving albino killings, delivered its second judgment on Monday by convicting four accused persons and sentencing them to death by hanging.

Judge Gadi Mjemas sentenced Mboje Mawe, Chenyenye Kishiwa, Sayi Gamaya and Sayi Mafizi, all residents of Nkindwabiye village in Bariadi District, Shinyanga Region.

They were charged with having conspired and killed Lyaku Wille (50) of Nkindwabiye village between November and December last year.

In its first ruling in September this year, the court similarly convicted and sentenced three accused persons. Judge Gabriel Rwakibalila delivered the judgment, saying the court was satisfied that the evidence presented by the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt the involvement of the three convicts in the killings.

He said the trio conspired and killed schoolboy Matatizo Dunia (13), an albino, on December 1 last year at Bunyihuna village in Shinyanga Region’s Bukombe District.

Those found guilty and are now on death row are Masumbuko Madata (32) of Itunga Village, Emmanuel Masangwa (28) of Bunyihuna Village and Charles Kalamuji alias Charles Masangwa (42) of Nanda Village, all in Bukombe District. The court ruled that they committed the crime as per Section 16 of Criminal Act No. 196, as amended in 2002.

The pronouncement of the first death sentence against albino killers (in Shinyanga in September last year) was greeted with jubilation among people who thronged the High Court set up in the area specifically for the purpose.

However, most lawyers interviewed said implementation of the death sentence was not as easy as people thought because it would have to be preceded by a fairly long process lasting between three to four years.

It was explained that before those on death row were hanged to death, a panel of judges would have to deliberate on the ruling. They would then submit a report to a special jury that would, in turn, advise the President on whether to assent to the court’s ruling that the convicts be hanged to death.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Four more albino killers sentenced to death

Story courtesy of The Guardian newspaper Tanzania


The High Court of Tanzania sitting in Shinyanga region specifically to preside over cases of albino killings, delivered its second judgment yesterday by convicting and sentencing to death by hanging four accused persons.

Delivering the judgment which lasted almost four hours, High Court judge Gadi Mjemas sentenced Mboje Mawe, Chenyenye Kishiwa, Sayi Gamaya and Sayi Mafizi, all residents of Nkindwabiye village in Bariadi district, Shinyanga region to be hanged to death.

He said the four conspired and killed Lyaku Wille (50) of Nkindwabiye village between November and December last year.

Judge Mjemas said he was convinced beyond reasonable doubt based on evidence adduced from DNA results conducted by a government chemist, Gloria Machube that matched blood stains found on the weapons which were in the accused possession, that none other than the accused committed the offence.

The judge said despite an inconsequential mix-up of some facts in submissions by the prosecution side, “the truth remained intact and hence the fairness of the judgment delivered by this court against the accused”.

Defence lawyer John Mwigula said he was not satisfied with the ruling against his clients and would appeal.

The court heard from prosecution witnesses that the accused immersed into water the late Lyaku before cutting his head and legs and disappearing with them, and that the body was found buried near Mboje Mawe’s house.

In its first ruling in September this year, the High Court sitting in Shinyanga sentenced to death three accused persons, making seven in total.

Delivering the judgment, which lasted about an hour, High Court Judge Gabriel Rwakibalila said the court was satisfied that the evidence presented by the prosecution side proved beyond reasonable doubt the involvement of the three convicts in the killings.

He said the trio conspired and killed schoolboy Matatizo Dunia (13), an albino, on December 1, last year at Bunyihuna village in Shinyanga Region’s Bukombe District.

Those found guilty and now on death row are Masumbuko Madata (32) of Itunga Village, Emmanuel Masangwa (28) of Bunyihuna Village and Charles Kalamuji alias Charles Masangwa (42) of Nanda Village, all in Bukombe District. The court ruled that they committed the crime as per Section 16 of Criminal Act No. 196, as amended in 2002.

4 more to hung for Albino murder

THE High Court in Shinyanga Region yesterday sentenced to death by hanging four people, who were charged with killing a 10-year-old albino, Lyaku Willy, at Kidamlida River at Nkwindwabuye Village in Bariadd District last year.

This brings to seven the number of people so far sentenced to death after they were convicted of murder of albinos...Read the Rest Here

90 people arrested in connection to Albino killings

A total of 90 people have been arrested and taken to court in connection to the killing of Albino people in the country in the period between June 2007 and March 2009...Read the Rest Here

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Albinos in Exile under new Threat

"I have heard many times people say ‘there goes a million or real money’ whenever I pass by," she said.


They fled Tanzania to escape death at the height of killings of albinos by witchdoctors for their body parts.
Those who crossed to Kenya sought refuge in some coastal towns but it seems their hunters have followed them...Read the Rest Here

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Albino victim evicted from safe-house

One year ago, Mariam Staford Bandaba, an albino woman living in Tanzania, was viciously attacked by a machete-wielding gang who tried to kill her and sell her remains for witchcraft.

She escaped with her life, but only just.

The attackers chopped off one of her hands - the other had to be amputated in hospital, where she spent weeks recovering from her horrific injuries...Read the Rest Here

The bleeding continues...but why?

Yesterday morning a ten year old albino boy named Gaspar Kaswalatrie was killed near Geita. Two men ran off with one of his legs. Neighbours reacted which is why the attackers ran away and did not take more body parts. His father jumped to his defense and was also attacked. His father, Elkana, is now fighting for his life in hospital.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Reporter exposes the epidemic of Albino killings

Mariamu Stanford, 28, a single mother with albinism from rural Tanzania, is just one of two Tanzanians with albinism known to have survived the gruesome attacks. Stanford talks to ABC News' Juju Chang.
(ABC News)


I had just 24 hours to prepare for my trip to Africa. We had been reporting on the killing of Tanzanians with albinism, a genetic condition characterized by a lack of pigment in people's eyes, skin and hair, as part of an ABC News hour special...Read the Rest Here

Want to help Tanzania's Albinos? - Here's How


In Tanzania, life with albinism is a near death sentence. Fifty-four people with albinism have been murdered since 2007 -- their limbs hacked off and sold on the black market. Many locals believe there are magical properties in the blood, bones and skin of people with albinism.

Tanzania has one of the largest populations of albinos in the world -- an estimated 170,000.
(Positive Exposure/Rick Guidotti)Aside from gruesome attacks, Tanzanian albinos -- unprotected for a lifetime under the scorching African sun -- often die of painful skin cancer in their thirties...Read the Rest Here

Friday, October 2, 2009

Albino killers murder two accomplices

Story courtesy of The Citizen Newspaper, Tanzania

Unidentified people have killed two suspected contract killers of albinos who were being hunted by the police force in Mwanza Region.

Bodies of the suspects, Magessa Makala, 46, and Magole Nagabona, 35, were found abandoned in a bush at Ihebo village in Ukerewe District at around 10:00am on Sunday, Mwanza regional police commander, Jamal Rwambow, confirmed yesterday.

Sources in Ukerewe believe the duo were killed by their colleagues in the crime for fear of being named as was the cases with the deceased suspects who were named by their colleagues, who were nabbed with an albino organ, while scouting for a market for the bone in the city.

"It's true that we were searching for the deceased suspects whose names I could not reveal when their colleagues were arrested about a week ago for fear of interfering with investigation," Commander Rwambow admitted yesterday.

Mr Rwambow said it was not true that the deceased suspects committed suicide as misleading reports widely circulated in Ukerewe District at the weekend, hinting that the murderers had probably planned the killings in order to confuse the public and ongoing investigation.

"Bodies of the deceased suspects indicated that they were stabbed by sharp objects," he said.

Two people, a resident of Bugula in Ukerewe District, a resident of Mkudi Mlimani suburb situated at Ghana area in Mwanza City, were on August 13 nabbed with a bone believed to be of an albino at Sun City Guesthouse also in the city.

The two suspects who are still in police custody, who also serve as traditional healers, named their colleagues during an interrogation with police officers in the city.

They admitted receiving the albino bone from the deceased suspects, who brought it to the city for them to look for a lucrative market for the albino organ.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New threat to albinos at school in Mwanza

Story courtesy of The Guardian Newspaper Tanzania

Pupils with albinism at Mitindo School, Misungwi District are exposed to hot sun as they wait in long queue for their turn to get water from a single source

Children with albinism admitted to a boarding school at Mitindo in Mwanza Region in efforts to keep them safe away from albino killers, now face a health threat.

According to the head teacher Juma Abdallah the pupils travel up to three kilometers to fetch water from a well far from the school. The school has a total of 148 pupils, 45 of whom are blind while 103 are albinos. Albinos lack pigments in their eyes, skin or hair, making their life difficult in Africa, where there is plenty of sunshine. They are more susceptible to skin cancer and sunburn.

“As you have seen, the pupils are forced to wait under the sun in a queue for a long time, risking their tender skins and weak eyes by exposing them to the sun,” he said.

Other challenges they face are shortage of blankets, bed- sheets, toothbrushes and tooth paste. The school also needs a professional matron and patron as well as regular heath check-ups. Mitindo School in Misungwi District was initially meant for blind children. Now, owing to lack of dormitories, two pupils are now forced to share a bed. “Following the outbreak of albino killings, the government directed us to accommodate the children, but their number is overwhelming and we’ve no alternative as our request for additional budget is yet to materialize,” said the head teacher.

The albinos have been killed for their body parts to be used in witchcraft by persons who seek wealth or sexual potency. At least 53 albinos have been killed since March, 2007 in various parts of the country, mostly in Shinyanga and Mwanza regions.

The killers sell body parts such including arms, legs, hair, skin and genitals to those who practice witchcraft.

Meanwhile, Mwanza Regional Commissioner Abbas Kandoro is currently cautioning parents and guardians to refrain from sending albino children there any more.

He said: "Parents too are duty bound to protect their children," adding that this is not solely a government responsibility. Kandoro called on each district authority in the region to construct a primary school where children with albinism would be mix with other children.

Government and lobby groups say Tanzania has about 170,000 albinos out its population of 40 million people.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Three albino killers to hang

Story courtesy of The Guardian Newspaper Tanzania

The three men convicted of an albino boy's murder

The High Court, sitting in this Shinyanga Region town specifically to preside over cases involving albino killings, delivered its first judgement yesterday. It convicted and sentenced to death three accused persons.

Reading the ruling, which lasted about an hour, High Court Judge Gabriel Rwakibalila said the court was satisfied that the evidence presented by the prosecution side proved beyond reasonable doubt the involvement of the three convicts in the killings.

He said the trio conspired and killed schoolboy Matatizo Dunia (13), an albino, on December 1 last year at Bunyihuna village in Shinyanga Region’s Bukombe District.

Those found guilty and now on death row are Masumbuko Madata (32) of Itunga Village, Emmanuel Masangwa (28) of Bunyihuna Village and Charles Kalamuji alias Charles Masangwa (42) of Nanda Village, all in Bukombe District. The court ruled that they committed the crime as per Section 16 of Criminal Act No. 196, as amended in 2002.

“This court has found all of you, first accused Masumbuko Madata, second accused Emmanuel Masangwa and third accused Charles Kalamuji alias Charles Masangwa, guilty of killing Matatizo Dunia, and therefore you will be hanged to death. However, you can appeal the sentence if you so wish,” the judge pronounced.

The long-awaited judgment appeared to please most of the people who had turned up at the court premises in huge numbers for an eyewitness account of the climax of the historic proceedings.

Judge Rwakibalila said the defence furnished the court with evidence meant to present the accused as innocent, adding: “But later evidence from the same side proved that the three accused were in fact solidly behind the killings.”

He explained that despite an inconsequential mix-up of some facts in submissions by the prosecution side, “the truth remained intact and hence the fairness of the judgment delivered by this court against the accused”.

The judge said among the trivial “slip-ups” he was referring to was the number of vehicles used by an unspecified number of police officers during arrest of the suspects.

“It is impossible for human being to remember every detail. However, this cannot change the truth,” he noted.

Added the judge: “The evidence presented in court included statements by Madata’s wife and Masumbuko’s third wife Yunis Peter, who stood as the second prosecution witness. The two women narrated in court how they saw their husbands returning home accompanied by Rajab Luchoronga, who is still at large. They also witnessed Matatizo’s severed legs being recovered from a nearby bush which Masumbuko frequently visited for soothsaying.”

Judge Rwakibalila pointed out further that the evidence presented in court by a bother to Madata showed how the accused fled alongside Luchoronga as the police approached.

“Again, third accused Kalamuji’s wife identified as Sofia Andrew explained how her husband disappeared from the family home on November 30 last year before it was reported that he had been arrested in connection with the killing of an albino,” added the judge.

Commenting on the evidence presented by the Chief Government Chemist, the judge said the first and the third accused were directly implicated in Matatizo’s brutal killing “as DNA samples collected from the boy’s blood technically proved them to have hand a hand in the killing”.

Soon after Judge Rwakibalila was through, the defence side declared that they intended to appeal the ruling.

Defence counsel Kamaliza Kayaga said he was not satisfied with the ruling against his clients and contesting it was the only option they would pursue.

The court adjourned until September 28, which is set for the hearing of another murder case. This time the accused is Joseph Lugota of Kagongwa Village in Isagehe Ward, who stands charged with killing Ng’wana Gimbishi (75) of Kilimbi Village in Mwalugulu Ward in Kahama District.

Land Mark Ruling: Three to hang for Albino Murder

A LANDMARK judgment was made today, when a high court sitting in Shinyanga region sentenced three men to death by hanging for killing Matatizo Dunia (14), an albino boy, early this year in Bukombe district...Read The Rest Here
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Albino Society calls for public execution

The Tanzania Albino Society (TAS) has called for the public execution of three people who were yesterday sentenced to death for murdering an albino...Read The Rest Here
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Death for Tanzania Albino Killers

A court in north-western Tanzania has sentenced three men to death by hanging for killing a 14-year-old albino boy.

They were found guilty of attacking Matatizo Dunia and severing his legs in Bukombe district in Shinyanga province...Read The Rest Here

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Tanzania Albino killers death Sentence

The first verdicts arising out of the recent spate of witchcraft-related killings of albinos in Tanzania have been delivered - three men have been sentenced to death by hanging.

A court in the north of the country found them guilty of murdering a 14-year-old and severing his legs...Read The Rest Here

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Peter Ash shares his heartbeat with Christian faithfuls in Dar

When called to the podium to introduce his team and share the word of God last Sunday, Peter Ash (founder of Under the Same Sun – an organization which has the interest of albinos in Tanzania at heart) walked up the steps purposefully, one step at a time.

He took the mike from the pastor and introduced the team he’d come to church with that morning. They were, among others, his brother Paul; Don, a close friend and one directly involved in the fight against albino killings; Vicky Ntetema, BBC bureau chief in this part of the world and Samuel Mluge, the director of Under the Same Sun Tanzania.

When the preliminaries were over, he started sharing the word of God with the congregation.

He made three major points.

1.    People with albinism are first and foremost humans. The genetic condition albinism) comes second. They’re like any other human being. Their genetic condition does not rob them of their ‘humanhood’.

Albinos, just like the rest of humanity, are fearfully and wonderfully made. (See Psalms 139: 13 - 16). This is a psalm of David and it says:

“You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows right well. When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother’s womb, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there – you saw me before I was born. The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book before any of them ever began.”

Peter told the story of Mariam, a small albino girl who was hacked to death in the Lake Victoria region by people who were after her body parts. When he recounted how the gang slit her (Mariam’s) throat and how her legs were hewn off, tears coursed down the cheeks of some members of the congregation. Sporadic sniffles could be heard throughout the church as the sad story was being told.

2. Albinos are under a deadly attack of the devil, the father of lies. The devil is a liar and a murderer. John 8:44 says:

“You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it.”

The devil is also a thief. John 10:10 says:

“The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy.”

The devil, through the mouths of witchdoctors, promises wealth which comes at a price – human life! This is a great lie and one that should be fought against at all costs.

3. People with albinism need their brothers and sisters (those who don’t have albinism) to join in the war against this violence. This is where the church comes in. The church needs to stand for justice, mercy and faithfulness. The community around us needs to be sensitized on the repercussions of allowing this evil to continue having a field day in our country. It is the responsibility of each and every member of society to see to it that the violence and animosity against albinos comes to a stop.

He mentioned this blog as being one of the vehicles that is championing an end to violence against albinos in Tanzania. I was deeply humbled by this sentiment. (I really appreciate the mention of this blog on that podium, Peter).

He closed with strong and weighty words; words laden with prophecy ad finality:

“I see a day when albinos in this country (Tanzania) will walk free!”

AMEN!![My voice]

I wish, hope and pray so too.

Check out these links, too:
It's our call, dear brethren

Dealing with the violence aginst Albinos: Where do you fall?

Dealing with the violence against Albinos: Where do you Fall?

Different people have different ways of dealing with problems and challenges in their lives. How would you deal with the problem of violence against albinos if you were to take a stand?

I have prepared some questions (below) that could help you work out what you’d do or rather what your choice would be.

In the questions, the cracks in the house stand for the problem of violence against albinos.

Check what you would do…

a). Are you one who would opt to fill the cracks instead of finding out why there are cracks (to avert something even more sinister from seeing the light of day)?

b). Are you one who would paint the cracks to make them 'invisible'?

c). Are you one who would dig up the sides of the foundation to find out why the building is shaky?

d). Are you one who would literally demolish the building, the cost of the building notwithstanding, to build a more stable one in its place?

e). Are you one who would run after lizards that crawl out of the cracks, instead of paying attention to many a cranny threatening the stability of your building?

f). Are you one who would sit by, arms folded and watch as the building crumbles in one big heap?

g). Are you one who would exhibit the ostrich syndrome. That is, hide your head in the sand and think that because you cannot see the cracks then they are non-existent?

So, where do you fall?

It’s our call, dear brethren

I have continually noted – with growing uneasiness – that most Tanzanians blame the government for almost anything negative that happens in their environs.

Someone, at whose front door is a huge mound of garbage, would be heard blaming the government for not removing the litter from his doorstep! The logical thing to do would be to remove the ‘eyesore’ from in front his house in order to avoid outbreaks of diseases such as cholera.

The same mentality takes centre stage in the fight against albino killings. Most Tanzanians think (and wrongfully so!) that it is up to the government to bring these killings to an end.

The government alone cannot do much. All of us must join hands and work towards a common goal: an end to albino killings.

The ball’s in our court (or part of the game); let’s play with the intention of winning. Our albino brothers and sisters are waiting and watching. We can do better than we currently are doing concerning this grave issue.

Albino killings must be ended

Story courtesy of The Guardian Newspaper Tanzania

The High Court in Shinyanga has finally resumed the trials of people suspected to have been involved in the killings of albinos. Prior to the resumption, there was a lull due to a reported lack of funds, much as the trials were of great public interest.

We are quite encouraged that leaders of the Judiciary have taken quick measures to ensure that the cases resume. It is our hope that this time around, the trials are going to be conducted right to the end.

As it goes, justice delayed is justice denied. For that reason, it is pertinent that the cases are conducted non-stop until the verdicts are issued. We are stressing the need for expedition of the trials not because we are pre-judging the accused, but mainly because the credibility of the courts and the nation will be at stake if the trials are prolonged unnecessarily.

Secondly, at the end of the trials when the court hands down the punishment to those who might be found to be guilty, the penalties shall serve as a lesson to those who have been involved in the killing spree of albinos.

These crimes of highly detestable nature have also cast a dark cloud over our law organs and state investigation agencies, as there was a feeling -- and this persists, especially within the albino community -- that the arrests and eventual prosecution of the culprits was taking questionably long.

We therefore hope that the trials that are taking place in Shinyanga Region will not lead to complacency in the police force. No stone should be left unturned until all the killers are identified and brought to justice.

We must also insist on quick and unrelenting investigation whenever there are reports of such macabre killings anywhere within the borders of this country. We stress this, not because we have no trust in the competence of the state investigators, but because this is one of the ways of putting to an end the killings.

Wherever there is a will, there is a way. If we are determined to put the saga of the albinos—who are our fellow countrymen and women, our own kith and kin—to an end, then we should not only resolve to end the shameful killings, but also to manifest this resolve through concrete and credible action.

We all know that apart from the human tragedy brought about by the killings, the image of our nation is at stake. Also, the good name of this generation is threatened. We have to see to it that our great-great grandchildren remember this generation of Tanzanians affectionately as both responsible and of historical importance.

Moreover, the so-called saga of albinism in Tanzania is tarnishing our hitherto extremely good name abroad. Tanzania has been known as an island of peace in the Great Lakes Region and should remain so.

It is thus the duty of each and every one of us to protect human life, which is sacred. On the other hand, political leaders, members of the law-enforcing organs and the Judiciary bear even a heavier responsibility. That is why we keep writing about this particular issue.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Truth as it ought to be Told: Human body parts don’t Create Wealth

Kazungu Kassim, head of a Burundi albino association, listens to proceedings inside a courtroom in Ruyigi, eastern Burundi

Snapshots of the full article Click on the link below the snapshots to read the full article

...A 35-year-old man in Lake Tanganyika was accused of trying to sell his 24-year-old wife to Congolese businessmen for $2,000 (Sh150,000) while in Mwanga District a mother was alleged to have sold her albino baby girl to a group of men who slaughtered her and drunk her blood...

...They are cutting us up like chickens. Our biggest fear now is the fear of living. If you leave work at night as an albino you are unsure of reaching home safely. When you sleep you are unsure of waking up in one piece. In the streets you hear people plotting how they can get you,” lamented Zihada Msembo, Tanzanian Albino Society secretary general...

...Fishermen for instance, have this macabre belief that if they weave strands of red albino hair into their nets, fish will be attracted by the glimmer. Although poverty and ignorance are the major causes of these barbaric acts, Nigerian films are being accused of touting the efficacy of witchcraft...

...On further questioning the man confessed that a businessman was going to pay for the head by its weight...

...However, albinos in Burundi, affected by the killing wave in Tanzania, got a moral boost when eight men charged with killing albinos in the town of Ruyigi were sentenced to life imprisonment.
“I think it will reduce the amount of attacks on albinos in our country,” Mr Kazungu Kassim, spokesman for Burundi albinos, told journalists...


Read The Full Story Here

Court hears how Bukombe albinos `were murdered`

Story courtesy of The Guardian Newspaper Tanzania. It appeared in yesterday's (17th Sept 2009) edition of the paper.

The High Court in Shinyanga Region’s Bukombe District, sitting specifically to preside over cases in which three people are charged with albino killings, was informed yesterday that the accused were behind the planning and execution of a spate of such murders.

Winding up the public prosecution’s submission, State Attorney Prudence Rweyongeza told the court that Masumbuko Madata of Itunga Village and Emmanuel Masangwa and Charles Kalamuji alias Charles Masangwa, both of Bunyihuna Village in Bukombe District, were behind the killings of albinos reported around the Lake Victoria zone.

Rweyongeza said investigations leading to court action after filing the murder case, no. 24 of 2009, revealed that the accused killed Matatizo Dunia (13) on the night of December 1 last year as the youngster slept in a house at Bunyihuna village, and disappeared with his body parts for witchcraft purposes.

He told the court, presided over by Judge Gabriel Rweyongeza, that the prosecution brought two types of evidence - circumstantial and through affidavits.

“In the right of the seriousness of the crime committed, which has tarnished the country’s image, the prosecution presented in court evidence from 15 different people who are credible and reliable and who have proved beyond reasonable doubt the involvement of the accused in the crime. I pray that the court convict the accused accordingly,” he pleaded.

Commenting on the affidavit presented, Rweyongeza said the evidence basically proved the brutal killing of Standard Four schoolboy Matatizo Dunia of Bunyihuna Village in Iponya Ward, Bukombe District.

He added that the accused were positively identified as having committed the crime and actually confessed to have done so.

The prosecution further submitted that all the accused had confessed through affidavits to have collaborated in planning and executing the scheme leading to the killing of the boy. They were later arrested after being found in possession of the boy’s legs.

Rweyongeza asked the court to ignore “inconsequential issues of contention” among witnesses such as the number of police officers and the vehicles used during the arrest of the suspects at Itunga village.

“These are trivial and cannot alter the truth about the people behind the crime,” he said, adding: “Witnesses are human beings and cannot remember everything.”

He submitted that one prosecution witness, first accused Madata’s wife Yunis Peter, willingly and without being swayed by prejudice or vengeance against the accused, explained before Judge Rwakibalila and the court assessors how her husband was busy with secret plans with third accused Kalamuji.

He quoted the woman as having explained how her husband made “endless trips” on November 30 last year “to accomplish his evil mission of killing the innocent boy and hide the body parts in the bush”. The case was adjourned until today, when the judge will hear presentations by court assessors before giving the date for ruling.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Peter Ash drums up support for albino protection

Story Courtesy of The Guardian Newspaper, Tanzania

Peter Ash with an albino girl

President and founder of a Canadian non-profit organization, Under the Same Sun, Peter Ash, jetted in Dar es Salaam over the weekend calling for justice to the families who lost their loved ones due to genetic disorder.

Ash has albinism, a genetic condition which results in significantly reduced vision, but such condition has of late ignited a spate of killings by get-rich-quick fellows always associated with witchcraft.

He told journalists at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) that his heart drives him to do whatever he can to provide resources to assist those most disadvantaged by disability, discrimination and poverty.

“Our mission remains unchanged. It is to provide resources which allow these groups to increase their quality of life and gain increased independence,” said Ash.

He said for Tanzania's 170,000 albinos, there was an increasing sense of fear and abandonment. With the government unable or unwilling to protect them from the machetes of the witchdoctors' henchmen, there is no place to hide and little reason to hope.

As the slaughter of albinos continues, promises from Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda that the killers would be brought to justice swiftly have been fulfilled. Now the Kahama and Shinyanga High Courts have been holding trials for four of the suspected killers of victims with albinism.

This is the third time for the founder of the Canadian NGO is visiting Tanzania. During his second visit, Ash and his delegation met with leaders in the albinism community as well as religious leaders and government officials, including Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda and Vice-President Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein. Unfortunately, four months later as the killings continue unabated, Ash seriously questions if there is any political will for the government to provide meaningful protection for its citizens with albinism.

The most recent victim was 4-year-old Muanda Sita of Madilana village in the Bariadi District, Shinyanga Region. The killers, wielding machetes, overtook the little boy and hacked off his legs one by one as he screamed in agony. His slaughter brings the number of killings of Tanzanians with albinism during the past month to four.

In addition, other African countries are now reporting similar occurrences, including neighboring Burundi where at least 12 people with albinism have been slaughtered in the last year. However, Burundi does not appear to be afflicted with the same kind of judicial apathy.

While the trials in Tanzania are dragging, nine people in Burundi have recently been convicted for the murders. All nine killers are serving time in jail, with one of them serving a life sentence.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This War will one day be won, but first…

I was reading the book of Nehemiah in the Bible today when my eyes lighted on a verse that moved me. The sheer resolve and determination that oozes from the verse got me thinking and wishing, wishing, wishing …

The verse, Nehemiah 4:14, says: “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”

This came at a time that Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem and some people were taunting and mocking the builders. There were instances when the security of the builders was threatened. So they had to work with their weapons (swords, spears, shields) at hand.

They were doing a good thing and they refused to be intimidated or even join the bandwagon of the complacent fellows who were satisfied with the way things were. They dared to be different and that drew immense opposition.

This reminds me what Albert Einstein said: Great spirits have always encountered violent oppositions from mediocre minds.

I guess this has a great lesson for us here in Tanzania as we fight against the violence levelled against albinos; and as we champion for the prosecution of albino murderers.

We cannot dare allow complacency and intimidation to fill our hearts as we fight this good fight. Though some of us have been cowed into believing that nothing good will come out of this war, there are positive indications that this war is already half won. We just have to keep at it without giving up hope. You know, from those to whom much has been given, much will be required.

If there is no other motivation to fight this good fight, let this one suffice: There is no substitute to human life. Guard it with all you can and however you can!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Albino Murder Trials Suspended

Tanzania has suspended the trials of suspects accused of killing albinos so their body parts can be used in good-luck charms, ostensibly because of a lack of funds.....Read The Rest Here
Read this Also

...The killings have sullied Tanzania's reputation for relative calm in a volatile region, and drawn condemnation from the United Nations and European Union.....Read The Rest Here
Pictures of a HORRIBLY mutilated Albino Girl. Be warned: they are graphic!
Is this what we want to continue happening?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Is there any POLITICAL WILL to end the Killings...

...As Albino butchery increases and Tanzanian courts abandon prosecutions?

As the slaughter of albinos continues, promises from Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda that the killers would be brought to justice swiftly have not yet been fulfilled. Now the Kahama and Shinyanga High Courts which have been holding trials for 4 of the suspected killers of victims with albinism say they have run out of funds. THESE TRIALS HAVE NOW BEEN SUSPENDED UNTILFURTHER NOTICE. For Tanzania’s 170,000 albinos, there is an increasing sense of fear and abandonment. With their government unable or unwilling to protect them from the machetes ofthe witchdoctors’ henchmen, there is no place to hide and little reason to hope.

When Peter Ash, Founder of the Canadian NGO “UNDER THE SAME SUN” returned from his second fact-finding mission to Tanzania this past April, he was cautiously optimistic. During the visit, Ash and his delegation met with leaders in the albinism community as well as religious leaders and government officials, including the Prime Minister and Vice-President, Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein. Unfortunately, four months later as the genocide continues unabated, Ash seriously questions if there is any political will within this East African government to provide meaningful protection for its citizens with albinism.

The most recent victim was 4 year old Muanda Sita of Madilana village in the Bariadi District,Shinyanga region. Murderers, violently wielding machetes, overtook the little boy and hacked off his legs one by one as he screamed in agony. His slaughter brings the number of murders of Tanzanians with albinism during the past month to 4. In addition, other African countries are now reporting similar occurrences, including neighboring Burundi where at least 12 people with albinism have been slaughtered in the last year. However, the Republic of Burundi does not appear to be afflicted with the same kind of judicial apathy. While the trials in Tanzania have completely stalled, 9 people in Burundi have recently been convicted for the murders. All 9 killers are serving time in jail, with one of them serving a life sentence.

According to Ash, the crisis in Tanzania has only intensified. “If you have albinism in Tanzania”,he says, “you live in a constant state of fear. Since 2007, police reports confirm that at least 53 innocent children and adults have been slaughtered like animals so that their body parts can be traded and sold as mere commodities by witchdoctors to their customers. The darkness of Witchcraft is rampant with documented accounts of tiny babies, some as young as 6 months ofage, being slaughtered alive in front of their families, dismembered one frail limb at a time.”

“In another case earlier this year, he adds, “the body of a two day old baby with albinism in Shinyanga was exhumed from a grave dug the day after its birth. This tiny infant was found without arms or legs. There are repeated accounts of throats slit, blood drained and sometimes drunk on the spot by the killers. Victims have no one to trust and nowhere to turn because evidence shows that in many cases, relatives or close friends of the victims are directly involved in the murders. Tragically, law enforcement officials have also been implicated. This spreading evil has reached epidemic proportions.”

While visiting Tanzania on February 28, 2009, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon himself condemned the killings, remarking that “I have received complaints about this gross violation of human rights. It is a very serious issue…”. In the small number of trials that were until recently occurring, witnesses say that prosecutors have often botched the investigations. Tanzania’s 170,000 people with albinism now feel totally abandoned by their justice system with nowhere to turn for rescue from this genocide.

The reassuring press releases of politicians did nothing to save beautiful 14 year old Eunice Bahati of Sengerema district (Mwanza Region) on February 17 this year when killers hacked offeach of her limbs as her family watched. The horrific and graphic photos below of Eunice’s body provide evidence of this crime against humanity which is spreading across Tanzania:

WARNING: THE PICTURES ARE GRAPHIC

Pictures of a horribly mutilated Albino Girl

Increasing International Pressure

World media has taken serious note of this continuing killing spree. The desperate plight ofTanzania’s albino community and the work of Under The Same Sun have recently been featured in international media coverage such as The New York Times, BBC, The National Post,The Guardian, Voice of America, NBC News and countless other radio, TV and newspapers.And with the Tanzanian judicial system’s recent declaration that they cannot continue theprosecutions of suspected murderers due to a lack of money, Ash believes that the international community must pressure the Tanzanian Government to reconsider this decision. “The courts must act swiftly to prosecute the perpetrators of these grizzly crimes” says Ash, “and then thegovernment must commit sufficient resources to protect Tanzania’s vulnerable albino community”.

“We must all raise our voices and join with our fellow human beings with albinism in Tanzania!” Ash implores. “We must shout with a loud and passionate cry for justice and a plea for safety.All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. Please do not be counted among those who failed to bring about life saving change.”

An international petition can be signed and more information obtained by visiting:www.underthesamesun.com.
For interview requests, please email: media(at)underthesamesun(dot)com or telephone +1-604-587-6502.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tanzania Albino Center in Moshi: Impacting the Lives of Albinos


The Hands of Africa Foundation in Netherlands in collaboration with Tanzania Albinos Centre in Moshi, have realized the situation of the albino society in Tanzania. Our first task is to provide education to the albinos and create awareness to the society to accept albinos as normal beings with all human rights including social protection including the following:

*To provide their needs like sun-glasses and sun-blocks (skin cream) to albinos, to keep their eyes and skin safe.

*To provide them with life.....Read The Rest Here

The Mission and Vision statements of the Tanzania Albino centre:

MISSION
Our aim is to improve the life of albino’s in Tanzania by support their school and vocation colleges education, medical help, awareness etc. So they can live safe, accepted in the society and able to find jobs and good education. As well as imparting life skills.

VISION
Together with the Dutch Afrikaanse Albino’s Organization we will become the recognized leader in planning, advocating and funding quality services to improve the lives of the albino in Tanzania.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More Govt bodies join in the fight against Albino killings

The Tanzania Government Chemist Laboratory Agency (GCLA) has started to examine blood samples of albinos killed in Shinyanga region this year...Read The Rest Here

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Love conquers all: An Albino's moving Love Story...

... and subsequent happy family!
James, Pamela and their daughter, Avril

...Pamela could not get her mind off the young man, an aspiring musician with a deep, musical voice and sense of humour.

And she also liked his “shiny blonde hair”, which she says made him very attractive.

James’s hair colour is as a result of albinism, an inherited genetic condition characterised by little or no pigment (melanin) in the skin, eyes and hair...Read to know how Pamela and James, an albino, met, courted and... now have a loving family. Life is not all doom and gloom for albinos!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Photos showing what ALBINOS have to put up with...

...the PAIN and ANGUISH!

Photos that SPEAK louder Than WORDS

Accused Albino Murderer denies close relation with Murdered Albino

...It is alleged that the deceased was living with Gamaya before he was brutally killed between November 1 and December 4, last year and, according to the prosecution, on the day when the crime was committed the accused had met at the house to plan the shocking murder...Check out the Rest Here


Other Albino Stories in the Media

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Tiny Sanctuary for Tanzania's Albinos



One of the things that makes working for the Red Cross in the field such a privilege is that you occasionally see places you never would in a lifetime of “travel”, even as a journalist. And meet true humanitarians – local volunteers – whose main objective in life is to do something to help their communities...Check out the Rest Here

Rozarii Lynch: Freelance Photographer with a Difference

This is Rozarii Lynch

Rozarii, a freelance photographer, has initiated a project whose aim is to raise international awareness for the plight of the albino people, to portray positive images of the individual albino people and to affect positive change for their situation.

Read to know More about Rozarii's Project

State Drops witness in Albino Murder Trial

The trial involving the murder of a 54 year-old albino took a new twist yesterday when the prosecution decided to drop from its list of witnesses the wife of one of the accused, after the latter changed her mind...Read the Rest Here

And also......Check out the Same Story in this other Paper

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Trader accused of asking for albino parts

...The shocking testimony emerged after a defence counsel, Mr Feran Kweka, asked the witness why the alleged "buyer" of a head and legs cut off from Lyaku Willy was not among the accused despite being named...Read the Rest Here.

Witness recounts how ‘killers’ went into hiding.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Man confesses to having Killed an Albino

...[Currently, albino murder cases are being heard simultaneously in Shinyanga and Kahama districts]...
A man on trial for the murder of a mentally ill albino last year confessed to having committed the heinous crime before villagers, the High Court heard yesterday...Read the Rest Here.

One Man's Opinion: "That's Why I Say Africans Are Cursed"

"My father was an albino and he died of cancer when he was nearing 50. Throughout my childhood I grew up an angry boy. I was angry with life. I have asked God several times why he had to make my father the way he was, not that I didn’t love him but I felt pity for him. I remember vividly how children and people would make fun of my father. He has been called names such as “murungu”(white man),”musupe”(an insulting word for albino), ‘nguruve”(pig) amongst other names. Every time he would be humiliated and insulted he would look down and proceed living life like everything was normal..."Read the Rest Here.

Albino Killers: The Long Arm of the Law has finally caught up with them

...as hearing of cases against suspected albino killers start

Suspected albino killers in court

Witnesses in the case in which three people are charged with albino killings in Kahama District, Shinyanga Region, testified...Read the Rest Here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Norwegian Journalist told off by former Mwanza RC

This is Mwanza, a region in Tanzania that has been hard-hit by the spate of albino killings

Here I relate the story of a Norwegian writer (in his voice) as told to me by the said writer, a Mr. Sveinung, when he visited Dar es Salaam recently
…………………………………………………….
I was doing a story on the situation for Tanzanians with albinism, visiting the area around Lake Victoria.

I had heard of the Mitindo primary school in Misungwi district, where around a hundred children with albinism live. They are kept safe by surrounding walls and guards. I had difficulty getting hold of contact information for employees of the school, so when I found the address, I just went over in a taxi.

I ran into the head teacher, a courteous man who explained that I needed permission from the district commissioner before I could visit. I was told it was a security thing and a formality. I went to the district commissioner, who told me I had to see the regional commissioner.

Back to Mwanza City.

After waiting about an hour and a half I was granted an audience with the RC, a Mr. James (now of Dodoma, replaced by Abbas Kandoro, formerly of Dar es Salaam), and a woman whose name or position I didn't catch.

He jotted down my personal details from my international press card. I was questioned about my stay and my work. Why had I come to Mwanza? Why not Dar es Salaam? Or Zanzibar?

Because Mwanza is where the problem is, I said.

But why Mitindo? Why not see affected people in the villages?

Aha, but I did, just yesterday.

He doesn’t like this either. Did I just walk in there? How disrespectful. People can’t be expected to trust every face they see. You have to approach the situation carefully and with respect.

I agree, I say, and explain that I had help from someone who knew the area and the people. I didn’t see anyone until someone assured me that they wanted to meet me. The insinuation that I’m this brute who just tramples into a situation with no regard to culture or people is a bit insulting, but I bite my tongue.

So where did I go exactly? I mangle the name of the village, mostly because it strictly isn’t relevant or any of his business at all.
Who did I go with? I fudge the issue but he insists.

Who was it that helped you?

I say that I can’t tell him. The effect is galvanic. He is shouting at me. Since I will not cooperate with him, he will not cooperate with me. He slams his notebook shut. He says that I should leave Mwanza region within 24 hours. I am not to talk to any organizations. He doesn’t even want to see me in the street.

But I have an airplane ticket for another day, I feebly protest.

Your ticket is cancelled! I am told.

I make one last attempt to steer the ship back on course. I say, very respectfully, for his understanding, that I cannot reveal my sources under any circumstances, whether it’s a high profile whistleblower or just some guy in the street who gave me directions. I would have no chance of ever being taken seriously as a journalist if I just handed over the names and telephone numbers of my sources when the authorities demanded that I do so.

This is to no avail. The RC refuses to look at me. He says that we have nothing more to talk about, upon which I take my leave.

Of course, my airplane ticket wasn’t cancelled. I didn’t even bother checking. And I stayed on in Mwanza for another three days, not to be troublesome, but because I still had appointments and a job to do. I got the impression that he tried to scare me off, I don’t know if he actually could have deported, from his region, a professional journalist who’d done nothing wrong.

Earlier in our conversation, before the whole thing got pear-shaped, the RC said that he was surprised to hear that I'd gone straight over to Mitindo without consulting him or asking permission from the regional authorities.

When, for example, he went to Europe, he said, he had to go through the proper channels. He knows this, I should know this. Now, I don’t know much about the RC’s diplomatic visits. They probably have their fair amount of formalities. But there are very few countries in Europe where you have to grovel before a regional commissioner or a governor to plead permission to visit some school. I have no problem with red tape except when its only purpose is to gag journalists. Of course, journalists cannot reveal their sources, and a man as intelligent as the RC knows this. He had no intention of granting me any sort of permission.

I don’t know if he finds that threatening journalists usually shuts them up, but the outrageous treatment I received is, in addition to the theme of a letter of complaint sent to my embassy in Dar es Salaam, a central part of my news story, in place of where the Mitindo section should have been.

I respect the RC. I know of at least one instance where he personally intervened to help find a school for a young person who was attacked. And the Mitindo School, planned expanded, is proof that the local authorities are doing something to protect their weakest.

While police and political corruption and involvement is widely thought to be a huge hindrance to the solving and stopping of albino killings and maimings, there was and still is, I believe, no reason to suspect it reaches the office of the regional commissioner.

But why the RC insisted on acting like someone who had something terrible to hide, you’d have to ask him about it.

All in all, the energy shown at that meeting would be better spent channeled into doing something about the desperate situation for albinos.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Secret Ballot evokes Reprisal

Courtesy of The Guardian newspaper
The recent countrywide secret ballot to identify suspected killers of albinos, the elderly and drug dealers has sparked off acts of retribution following the killing of a schoolteacher in Meatu District, Shinyanga Region, on Tuesday.

According to Meatu District executive director Andrew Juma, whose account was confirmed by the police, the schoolteacher, identified as Peter Nicolaus, was killed by unidentified armed gangsters in front of his house as he tried to escape after suspecting them of waylaying him.

Juma said preliminary investigation by the police indicated that the killing of the Ng’hanga Primary School teacher in Lingeka village followed days of rumours that he served as an informant for the police and was working with them to stop crime in the area.

“On Tuesday evening heavily armed people laid siege to Nicolaus' house. The assailants were reported to have returned to the village basically to avenge for information leaked by the deceased that he had submitted their names to the police as suspected criminals,” said Juma at a news briefing.

Interviewed neighbours said right from the beginning they knew that Nicolaus was doing the right thing to fight crime in the neighbourhood but suspected that something terrible would happen to him.

“Criminals have a network which is quite extensive. They (criminals) are quite unforgiving and ready to commit any crime.

Many people around this place refused to take part in the secret ballot for fear of reprisal similar to what happened to Nicolaus,” a resident, Hamidu Magadula, said.

Another villager, Rozaeli Mbwilo, said Nicolaus's family was traumatized and his death had shocked many people in the village and instilled fear in people who might be ready to expose bad elements in the community.

“This is why I refused to cast my ballot against criminals because the suspects would come to know about it and start looking for those against them and retaliate in a shocking manner as it has happened to Nicolaus.

We are in a dilemma; although we want to get rid of criminals we also don’t want to be killed this way,” Rozaeli said.

When asked to comment on measures taken to stop such killings, a police officer said, “The matter will be discussed with higher authorities to make sure that people and their property are secured.”

With the upsurge in albino killings, especially in the Lake zone, the government took some measures to redress the situation. The first step was revocation of operational permits of traditional healers said to have contributed to the killings".

Visit the IPP site for other news on Tanzania

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Plight of Albinos in Tanzania: What should be done?

I received this email today. I have reproduced it here in its entirety.
Dear Sir/Madam
Tanzania Knowledge Network (TAKNET) is hosting a discussion forum that discuses the The Plight of Albinos in Tanzania.
I am therefore writing to invite you to visit the forum at www.taknet.or.tz to contribute your ideas and experience on the issue and share information and knowledge from others.
At the end of discussion the moderators will come up with policy briefs that we believe will help to influence policies and practices. The forum is conducted both in English and Kiswahili.
Please circulate this email to who ever you think will find the forum useful. Bellow please find introduction to the discussion.

With kind regards,


For Topic moderators


The Plight of Albinos in Tanzania: What should be done?

Recently, albinism in Tanzania has gained a relative attention following the brutal killings of the albinos. Albinism is defined as a genetically inherited disorder resulting from lack of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes of those affected. It is a rare genetic condition occurring in both genders regardless of ethnicity. Tanzania is believed to host not more than 170,000 albinos (WHO 2008).

Since 2007, Tanzanians have witnessed a wave of albino killings with parts of their bodies being brutally chopped off. According to the records about 43 albinos have been brutally murdered or their body parts hacked off. This evil is driven by the belief that albinos’ body parts possess magical powers capable of bringing riches. This have eroded Tanzania's image as a sanctuary for the oppressed in the international community, a reputation earned during the liberation struggle in Southern Africa.

Although a number of measures at both international and national levels have been taken to address the problem, more killings are being witnessed. Internationally the International Police (Interpol) have been involved to manhunt the suspected human traffickers operating in other countries. Furthermore the works of renowned campaigners like the Canadian albino businessman Peter Ash (with the Under the Same Sun programme) have been initiated to fight the killings of albinos.

At the national level, these measures can be divided into political, institutional and legal whereby politically his excellence President Kikwete, nominated Member of Parliament, honorable Al-Shymaa Kwegir, (who is also albino) in an effort to raise awareness about the vice and to help demystify the myths about albinos. Institutionally, a number of institutions have been established to address human rights. Furthermore the legal measures have been implemented like the banning of witchdoctors’ operations; directives to the regional security committees to protect albinos; introduction of a secret ballot system for identifying those suspected of dealing in human body parts and provision of mobile phones to albinos to quickly pass on information to investigators.


This discussion topic is therefore intended to collect people’s ideas on what should be done to stop these killings. We therefore welcome you to this discussion focusing on the following giudelines:
The motive behind these killings (economical, political, social and cultural)
In your opinion what are the appropriate measures that can be taken to address the problem (what else should be done?)
The role of Tanzanians in ending this distortion of human rights
The role of international institutions in addressing this problem.



Mr. A.K. Hassan
Senior Information Officer
Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF)
P.O.Box 31226
Dar es Salaam
Tel:+255 -22-2760260 ext 100
Mobile:+255-754 263390
Fax:+255-22-2760062
Email: akhassan@esrf.or.tz
General Email: esrf@esrf.or.tz
Website: http://www.esrftz.org

ESRF is a leading Centre of Excellence in Social and Economic Policy Research and Capacity Building on Policy Analysis and Dialogue in Tanzania and the Region. It is stakeholder-driven and its Board of Trustees consists of representatives from Government, Private Sector, NGOs, Civil Society, Research Institutions and Universities.

Websites managed by ESRF:
http:// www.tanzaniagateway.org -you will get all you need to know about Tanzania.
http://www.tzonline.or.tz -If you need recent publications by government, universities, private sector, development partners, etc on Tanzania,

Kindly give your feedback after visiting the sites. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The "Under the Same Sun" tour in Tanzania

Courtesy of Rick Guidotti
Under the Same Sun office in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Opening of the Under the Same Sun office

Read & See the Rest Here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Kudos Peter Ash: Yours is a Noble Job

"We need to see convictions, we need to see more than just talk, and we need to see a concrete plan of action put in place to protect the albino community,"...Read the Rest Here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Folks Let’s Start on a clean Slate, it’s Easter

Today is Easter Sunday; a day when Christians the world over commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Christians believe, I being one of them, that the resurrection of Jesus, after being dead for three days, signified (ies!) a new lease of life to each and every follower of Christ. This is because He defeated death with His rising.

Jesus Christ took our sins, iniquities and diseases upon Himself and suffered the punishment that was due us. He forgave us unconditionally.

Folks, my aim is not to preach here. I am trying to drive the point that Easter is a time of reflection and forgiveness.

It’s all about the welfare of Albinos

This blog’s aim is to champion an end to stigmatization and murders of albinos. Our call in this blog is that we should forgive one another where we have failed to stand up for albinos.

These are our brothers and sisters and taking care of them is OUR [you and I] responsibility.

Where God’s love abounds, one looks forward to putting a smile on their neighbour’s face. Harmony and peace is found in plenty in such a setting!

Anyway, what better way is there of exhibiting God’s love in our midst than serving other people with the cleanest of hearts!

Remember:

Do unto others what you’d like to be done unto you

For those to whom much has been given, much will be required

The path of duty is the way to glory

Happy Easter.

........
Thanks Brian Carnell for putting a link to my site on your site.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Man assaulted in 'Albino vote'

Click image to view larger picture

Mwanza witchdoctor caught with Albino bone

Police here have arrested a 77-year-old traditional healer for allegedly being found with a bone believed to be of an albino...Read the Rest Here.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Peter Ash with his team is in Tanzania

Peter Ash, the man behind Under the Same Sun, an NGO out to fight the cause of albinos, is currently in Tanzania to help champion an end to albino killings in this country.

He is also in Tanzania to launch the Tanzania Under the Same Sun office.

Peter Ash shaking hands with the Vice President Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein after talks with him

For fear of their lives, twenty Albinos skip meeting

Following the albino killings that have rocked Tanzania in recent times, twenty albinos failed to attend a camp they had been invited to for fear that their lives would be in danger.

[The camp, Christian Sports Contact National Camp, which brought together young people from seven regions in Tanzania, took place in Tanga.]

The Chairman of the organization, Rev. Andrew Kajembe, said that albino killings cannot be tolerated in the society because they were denying albinos the right to enjoy their lives.

He said that the country cannot be allowed to be controlled by dark forces and urged all people, regardless of creed or colour, to condemn these killings.

“Twenty albinos were invited here in this camp, but where are they? They have chosen to stay at home for fear of being killed. I can assure you, if there were albinos here, you would have seen strange people plotting to pluck human parts from these poor fellows. This is an abominable thing,” he said.

He said that the church would not stay back and watch albinos being victimized and denied their right to live and enjoy their lives. He said that the church would use prayers to kill albino killers.

“We will surely pray asking God to kill albino killers,” he said.