This Blog's Guiding Maxim:-

"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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You can contact the blog editor through this e-mail address: (ritchmbuthia at gmail dot com)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ban Ki-moon condemns Killings of Albinos in Tanzania

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the killing of albinos in Tanzania... Read the Rest Here.

President Jakaya Kikwete spells out Strategy to stem Albino Killings

In his customary end of month television address to the nation, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania has today informed the nation of a new strategy, by the government, to stem the killing of albinos in the country.

He has said that, due to the enormity of the issue at hand, the government has decided to step up efforts to bring albino killings to an end. He has added that albino killings have sullied the image of Tanzania internationally and that, if nothing is done about it, things will spiral out of control.

The president has said that the strategy will be to engage the nation [which will be sub-divided into zones for this exercise] in a secret ballot in March this year. This means that the people will, secretly, write the names of the principals in the albinos’ body parts trade on set dates which will be announced to the public soon.

This strategy, he says, will involve all regions of Tanzania and will start with the Lake Victoria region where most of the killings have been reported. Albino body parts trade is also rife in this part of Tanzania.

Mr. Kikwete believes that this will be a sure-fire way of getting to the root of this problem. He says, too, people who will be involved in the exercise of naming names will not fear retribution from people they name because they will not know who named them when they are apprehended.

[People who will need help in writing the names of people they know to be involved in this “murky business”, will be assisted by people who will be put on standby for such eventualities. These people will be sworn to secrecy].

Of late, the Tanzanian government has come under considerable pressure, from international quarters, to bring albino killings to an end.

Were Albinos being Hunted even before the recent Killings “started”?

A friend of mine recently told me something that got me thinking. He said that albinos have been being hunted in Tanzania since time immemorial. But the recent spate of killings has “gone overboard”.

He reminded me that long ago, people used to believe that albinos, being special beings, didn’t use to die but they disappeared mysteriously.

This belief was “solidified” by the fact (?) that funerals and burials of albinos [if any] were few and far between. So, because not many people had attended these ceremonies, it was believed that albinos just disappeared.

I DON’T believe they used to disappear. That was a notion that was driven by utter ignorance. But then, if they were not “disappearing”, then, where were they going? Were they being killed for witchcraft purposes?

I don’t know what to think!

Friday, February 27, 2009

"Canadian aid should be considered as a pressure tool to help protect Tanzania`s Abinos," says Peter Ash

The Canadian government should consider using development aid to pressure the Tanzanian government into eradicating the underground trade in albino body parts... Read the Rest Here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Journalists should handle the Albino Issue with "kid gloves"

It is sad to mention that so far, the media has only been reporting about how many albinos have been killed, ignoring reportage that could halt their killings... Read the Rest Here.

Do Albinos deserve This?

I got these horrifying pictures today. Read the story of what happened here.


Where is this country HEADED?!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quotations that do inspire me to Action…even on this Blog!

Words are very potent “beings”! If used wisely, they can build and rejuvenate; but when used ignorantly, they can destroy and annihilate.

Aldous Huxley says of words: “Thanks to words, we have been able to rise above the brutes; and thanks to words, we have often sunk to the level of the demons.” How very true!

As a freelance journalist, I have learnt (by experience) that the pen is mightier than the sword. So, for this principal reason, I like to use words sparingly.

As we fight against albino killings in Tanzania, let me share with you some of the words, by other people, that have always jolted me to action when I felt compromise and complacence creeping up behind me. I pray that they inspire you, too, to action.

 People of accomplishment rarely sit back and let things happen to them. They go out and happen to things.
- Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519)

 Standing for right when it’s unpopular is a true test for moral character.

 Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always popular.

 Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.
- Albert Einstein

 If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got.
- Ed Foreman

 Champions are not made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have last minute stamina; they have to be a little faster; they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.
- Mohamed Ali

 To the world you might be one person but to one person you just might be the world.

 The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves but wiser people so full of doubts.
- Bertrand Russel

 Great people are ordinary people with extraordinary amounts of determination.

 If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives…Do good anyway!

 Give the world the best you’ve got and you’ll get kicked in the teeth…Give the world the best you have anyway!

 To the timid and hesitating everything is impossible because it seems so.
- Sir Walter Scott

 The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping stone in the pathway of the strong. That block of granite is often nothing more than a decision.

Dear brethren, in the fight against the animosity fashioned against albinos in Tanzania, we must first choose to be victors in the battle raging in our minds. We should and must mould our attitudes to fit in the cast of what we expect to achieve at the end of the day.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Father implicated in the Murder of his Daughter

News has emerged that a man in Mwanza (a town in the North-western part of Tanzania) has been arrested in connection with the murder of his albino daughter, Eunice, a 14- year-old girl.

According to the police, the evidence collected so far puts the father on the spot.

“The evidence collected so far shows that the father to the albino girl is a principal in the murder of his daughter. Though the evidence is not conclusive, he is clearly involved,” said the Mwanza commander of police.

A witchdoctor has also been caught in connection with the murder.

It is disturbing that a parent can collude with other people to kill his daughter for the sake of money. It is sickening to even imagine that such a thing can and could be true.

A parent is the last person a child can run to for refuge when people all around are baying for their (the child’s) blood. Now, when parents join in the bandwagon of perpetrators of albino killings, and kill their own children, it beats all logic.

Where are albino children “supposed” to get security, if ways and means of how and when to kill them are devised, by their parents, under the very roofs of their houses?

This is a very grave state of affairs.

Tanzania is bleeding – profusely! Anyone out there who can help stop this needless flow of human blood?

Ugandans stand up in Solidarity against Killings

Human sacrifices, especially of children, have been going on for a while in Uganda. Ritualists have been targeting children and cutting off their heads, hands, genitals, tongues and other such parts that they consider of “worth” to them.

People who do this “business” are in it for the money that it has to offer: i) cash payments by people who need the organs and ii) wealth that is believed to come like an avalanche when the rituals are over.

The killings in Uganda are different from the albino killings in Tanzania in that the Uganda “version” does not target a particular group as in Tanzania. The Uganda one is visited on just about anyone.

In view of the enormity of the situation at hand, Christians in Uganda have announced that they are going on a 40-day prayer and fasting session to bring the current spate of killings to a halt.

They are convinced beyond reasonable doubt that this state of affairs will come to an end.

And, just like in Tanzania, before international pressure was instituted, the authorities in Uganda are not seen to do anything about this issue. The political leaders, the chiefs, the police etc are not seen (or even heard) to decry this animosity.

“The police just come to pick the remains of people who have been killed (and body parts cut off) and take them to the mortuaries. They are just filling the mortuaries and are not doing anything to prevent fresh attacks from being carried out,” said one bitter Ugandan.

My Two Cents
The Ugandan people, by standing up in solidarity concerning the killing of people with impunity in their country, have set a very good example that the Tanzanian people can follow.

If we do not stand up for the albinos, we do not know who else will be targeted when the “albino phase” is over. Maybe it will be tall people like yours truly. God forbid!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

PETER ASH speaks with The New York Times about the albinism crisis in Tanzania

Last spring, he said, he began to hear about albinos in Tanzania being murdered for their body parts. More than 40 have been killed since 2007, sometimes right in front of their families, by gangs of men who hack off legs, heads or genitals and run away with them...Read the Rest Here

Four Albinos flee to Zanzibar

"...Their names were released, but the Urban/West Regional Police Commander (RPC) Bakar Khatib denied to give them to the media, saying the police were still struggling to establish reasons for their fleeing..." Read the Rest Here

Move to establish the syndicate behind the spate of Albino killings initiated

The police force has dispatched a team of intelligence officers to the Lake Zone regions as part of Interpol?s coordinated mission to tackle albino killings...Read the Rest Here

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

“Man of God” caught with Albino body Parts

A pastor with a Pentecostal church was one of the two people (the other one was a farmer in Mbozi district, Mbeya) who were caught yesterday (17th February) while attempting to sell albino body parts to a police officer who posed as a buyer. [The police got wind of the goings-on following a tip-off from a citizen.]

The two people who were caught are residents of Idweli village, Iyula location Mbozi District (in Mbeya region in Tanzania).

According to the Mbeya region commander of police, Zelothe Stephen, the suspects had been looking for buyers on Monday the 16th of February at Mwanjelwa market in Mbeya. They claimed that they were selling the body parts of a “white crow”.

The police set a dragnet to nab these people. One of the officers who was following up the case posed as a buyer. They named their price: it was Tsh 30 million (approximately USD 23500). As he did not have the money then, he promised to deliver it the following day.

On arrival, as planned, the next day, he was taken to the house of one of the culprits. There he was presented with four albino body parts which included wrists which were wrapped in two separate newspapers.

On “completion” of this transaction, these culprits were arrested. When the house of one of them was searched, “medicines” of various kinds were found.

Zelothe Stephen, the Mbeya region commander of police, says that the two will be arraigned in court very soon once investigation into the case is complete.

My Two Cents
I was greatly disturbed when I read this in the papers this morning. This was (and is) primarily because a man of God was involved in the trade of albino body parts. This is disheartening and overly frightening.

A pastor is a person who looks after people’s welfare and is supposed to be a person people can trust – trust even with their own lives. He/she should be a person whose character is above board.

The pastor in this article seems to me to be a person who would sell the choicest of flocks to hyenas – and not risk a ‘pinch’ on his conscience. According to me “A wolf in sheep’s clothing” is an apt description of such a person.

His behaviour confirms to me that what the Bible says about the last days is very true. The Bible says that in the last days people’s love for God will grow cold, hatred will increase and the love for money will abound.

The pastor’s love for money transcended his love for the word of truth. A horrible testimony!

As a bottom line
The perpetrators of animosity against albinos should have this drummed into their heads: All human beings’ right to life is equal. No one person has more right to live than another. Thus, these killings should be condemned vehemently from every nook and cranny.

To "preserve life" we must be a People of Courage

In his book Ake, Wole Soyinka writes what his grandfather told him about dealing with bullies:
"Wherever you find yourself, don't run away from a fight. Your adversary will probably be bigger, he will trounce you the first time. Next time you meet him, challenge him again. He will beat you all over again. The third, time I promise you this, you will either defeat him or he will run away."

As we continue with the "struggle" to end albino killings in Tanzania let us realise that life is not for the faint-hearted but for those who have the heart of a lion. Life is full of challenges.

Dr Maya Angelou once said: "You may encounter many defeats, but you must never be defeated. It may even be necessary to encounter some defeats to know who you are. Forgive yourself – no one else will."

The good thing is that challenges never leave you where they find you. When you bare your muscle and brawn and fight through the mist of near-defeat, you emerge better than you started out. Furthermore, nothing good comes easy. In fact, faint heart never won fair lady!

Challenges come to mould us and make us strong. They come to help us focus even more intently on matters at hand.
My call to us today is to face challenges that come our way with sober minds and to realise that the battle is for the strong (not necessarily physical strength) and not for the fearful and self-effacing. We must fight to preserve life and give hope to the hopeless.

The albinos in Tanzania must be "allowed" to live their lives to the full. That's our call. But are we "man" enough to face this tall order?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Can Poorly paid Guards safeguard Albinos' Lives?

``Now then, what would stop a guard who earns, say 50,000/, from abetting or in fact trading albinos in his charge if approached with millions of shillings?``...Read the Rest Here

In the War against Albino Killings Govt. must first Acknowledge that Witchcraft Exists

In order to win the fight against killings of people with albinism, the Government should first of all accept the fact that witchcraft exists...Read the Rest Here

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Legislators playing Politics with Albinos Lives: Do they Realise the enormity of the Issue at Hand?

"...there was a clear choice that legislators were making, and decided to play politics instead of taking up issues in clear and upright manner"...Read the Rest Here

Friday, February 13, 2009

The List of Influential People backing this blog is Growing

Check out this link Where this Blog is Mentioned by my friend Peik Johansson, a journalist from Finland.

As Gory as it can Become: Body Retrieved in a Swamp

A body of a person believed to be albino was found in a swamp at Itenka ‘A’ village, Mpanda District in Rukwa region on Wednesday...Read the Rest Here

"On the Spot: Albinos in Tanzania" clinches 1000 hits

This blog today clinched the 1000 hits mark. Thank you guys for keeping it here and I promise that I won't disappoint you. The battle against the animosity perpetrated against albinos has only just begun. Watch this space.

Yours truly...

Tanzania's Judiciary needs to be even more Decisive especially in cases concerning animosity towards Albinos

Rungwe District court yesterday freed two people who were alleged to have murdered an albino...Read the Rest Here

Meanwhile:"Albino escapes Death by the Skin of his Teeth"

Manara, himself an albino, told reporters in Dar es Salaam that the incident occurred last week at a night club in Masaki where three people, two women and one man, attempted to drug him so that they could later take him out of the club and probably kill him..."Read the Rest Here"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

World Body to Join Hands with the Tanzanian Government to Stem Albino Killings

The United Nations has promised to help the government end albino killings...Read the Rest Here the Albino Association of Tanzania appeals to the government to declare the killings a national disaster.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Inspector General of Police spits fire and brimstone on the Albino Issue

"...strategies applied in containing bank robberies will be used to tame killings of albinos..." vows the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Said Mwema.
...Read the Rest Here

Wham! One Million Guards to come to Albinos' Rescue

The Tanzania Security Industry Association (TSIA) has announced that it will deploy one million security guards all over the country as part of its contribution in the on-going war against albino killings...Read the Rest Here

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Legislators should stand up for the down-trodden

It was a sad day for a section of the populace here in Tanzania when legislators hauled the prime minister over the coals questioning his stand on the albino issue.

My spirit was dampened by the legislators’ actions. These are the very same people who were quiet the while the killings of albinos were going on. They did very little to assuage the misery that albinos were going through – physically and emotionally – but here they were, vehemently talking against the PM’s statements!

I couldn’t bring myself to understand the logic behind the scathing criticisms levelled by these legislators against the PM (a man who was doing something about the albino predicament).

Did they (the legislators) do this because the PM was out to find a solution to an issue that they had turned a blind eye to? Did the PM’s “breaking of the silence on the albino issue” embarrass our self-important legislators – for they are the ones who ought to have been at the forefront in the fight against albino killings? It beats me.

My Two Cents
Legislators are mandated by the electorate to fight for their (the electorate’s) cause in and out of parliament. When people are suffering in a country, legislators should try to come up with solutions.

Now, when debates on how to assuage the suffering, such as the one that has been borne by albinos in Tanzania, do not feature in parliament, one is left wondering whether the people we took to parliament were the right kind of people in the first place. This is the question.

I wonder, too…
There are some motions that have been brought to the House, discussing ways and means of safeguarding the interests of some people – (for instance the motion on how to resolve the impasse between farmers and pastoralist communities).

I am left wondering why the albino issue did/does not get such a forum. Or maybe there are some people whose issues can be discussed while others do not even “risk” a mention – a case of some people being more equal than others.

Maybe this is the same thing that George Orwell foresaw when he wrote his book “Animal Farm” in which we find the expression some are more equal than others.Honourable Al-shaymaa Kwegir, nominated MP in the current parliament. She is an albino.

Hon. Al-shaymaa Kwegir, just know that not all your colleagues in the House pray that albino killings come to an end. So they are not very keen that a solution is found in this issue.

Just know that the whole world is looking to see that violence against albinos comes to a close in Tanzania.

This animosity will not persist for long, believe you me.