TZ gov’t intensifies anti-Albino killing campaign

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ALBINO KILLINGS MUST STOP: Tanzania Premier, Mizengo Pinda

 

The Tanzanian government has tasked the Human Rights and Good Governance and the religious leaders on the Peace Committee to scale-up awareness campaign against alarming wave of killings targeting albinos in the country.

At least 43 Albinos have been killed in Tanzania since 2006. And 13 people have been convicted of murder of Albino persons and sentenced to death. Albinos in Tanzania have been targeted and brutally murdered by people seeking their body parts as good luck charms.

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda told parliament in Dodoma, Tuesday the public especially in the Lake Zone, has to be educated to prevent the “evil and senseless” that have dogged the East African nation for years.
Tanzania’s northern areas of Mwanza, Simiyu, Shinyanga, Geita, and Mara account for 41 out of the 43 cases since 2006.

“The problem is serious.” The premier said while tabling budget estimates and expenditures for the Prime Minister’s Office for the year 2015/16.

“The greatest source of all these killings is based on witchcraft-beliefs to gain titles, and wealth. I do not believe that rank, position, wealth or richness would come from such illegal means,” Pinda added

According to the Prime Minister, the government is working hand in hand in both Human Rights Commission and Peace Committee and the Judiciary to boost awareness of the issue and prevent copycat cases.

The government says about 181 suspects have been arrested and interrogated by the police in connection with, and 133 have been charged of murder, whereas 46 are facing body injury charges.

Steven Kelege, Mwanza Secretary General for Tanzania Association of Traditional Healers, (CHAWATIATA), told this website in an interview that the association was planning to carry out an operation that will ensure all traditional healers are registered and operate under set standards.

“We want all of them to use a recognised list of medicine when they offer their services instead of fortune telling.” he said

Kelege acknowledged some of their members have participated in these regrettable killings of Albinos.

“This is not right. People who kill in the name of traditional healing are simply phony, real traditional doctors don’t engage in these kinds of acts.” Kalenge noted hailing the Tanzanian police initiatives to crackdown on all traditional healers in a bid to weed out those who are not registered and therefore operate outside the confines of the law.

Suzana Mushi, The Secretary, Association of People with Albinism in Manyara told Afrika Reporter the rate of brutal killings for albinos was disturbing especially during general election years.

She observed the killings might have something to do with politics, as they seem to increase in election periods
“We’re worried and it’s the government and the general public who must protect us.” she said.