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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Crusade against albino killings must continue

Article courtesy of The Guardian newspaper (Tanzania) 5th May, 2010

Yesterday, May 4 was a solemn day for Tanzanians. It was a day specifically set to remember fellow countrymen and women with albinism who have fallen victims to inhuman killings by people who still believe in superstitions and witchcraft.

It was a day meant to accord an opportunity to the government and the people of this country to undertake a deep assessment on whether they are on the path to taming the inhuman and shameful scourge of albino killings that have done a telling damage to the image of Tanzania.

But more importantly, it was a day on which the government and its people were required to rededicate their commitment to fully supporting people with albinism and safeguard their right to harmonious and threats-free livelihood

We are heartened to note that Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda who graced the occasion at the national commemorations held in Iringa made it clear to all and sundry that while the war against albino killers was not yet won, those who perpetrated the crime should know that their days are numbered.

The Premier told a mass rally that the government was committed to ensuring that albino killings remained history in the not distant future.

We, however, wish to remind Tanzanians that the government alone cannot win this war against cruelty by a human being against another. For this war to be won, there are many potential stakeholders who must be brought fully on-board.

One of the potential stakeholders are religious leaders who are essentially major opinion leaders in any society. They live and work with the people at the grassroots, and together with other influential people in society can tame the traditional healers who are the instigators of this heinous crime.

Religious leaders can also work with non-governmental organizations to preach love among human beings and openly tell those who cling to outdated witchcraft beliefs that albino body parts are not and will never be the wonder miracle to getting rich.

What must be underscored is that although significant steps have been made in the fight against albino killers, a lot remains to be done.

Figures released yesterday indicate that a total of 97,736 people were voted for in a nation-wide poll conducted last year to be involved in various criminal activities, including killing people living with albinism.

While investigations to determine the way forward are ongoing, a total of 3,217 suspected criminals are already in police hands, 295 had been arraigned while 106 have been sentenced on various crimes including involvement in albino killings.

However, only 11 cases involving suspected albino killers have been brought to court out of which three cases had ended with eight people being convicted and sentenced to death and investigations into other 27 incidents of albino killings are ongoing.

As we have had occasion to state, this is in no way a satisfactory performance. This calls for the need to strengthen investigative machinery into these cases of brutality against human beings. This should go hand in hand with mass sensitization that would wipe off the notion that one can get rich by chopping off the hand of a person living with albinism.

1 comment:

egidi said...

i realy condemn such unlawful behaviours and such people have to be killed on the spot.says egidi joseph kilindi of UDSM