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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

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.

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