Wednesday, March 4, 2015

EDITORIAL: Put an end to Albino killings now, please!


By The Citizen

The killing of people with albinism, ostensibly for their body parts, is a crime so heinous that we must do all we can to bring it to an end. It is disturbing that there is an air of desperation around this subject, with more lamenting than working out a plan of action to save these precious lives.

Members of the association of people with albinism see complacence on the part of the government. Why, they ask, does the expertise applied in catching killers of individuals “who matter” not come into force when superstitious thugs attack and dismember them?

The argument is that people whose level of thinking leads them to believe albino parts provide potent charms for quick riches and power do not have the sophistication to evade our generally well trained police. Such small brains are certain to leave behind trails that our police can follow and bring them to book.  Yet reports show that since 2000, there have been at least 74 albinos killings and 58 brutal attacks in which people have lost limbs or have been left permanently scarred. There are many unanswered questions on how many arrests and convictions have been made. As President Kikwete himself said in his February month-end speech, the attacks on albinos are a disgrace. How much anger must we whip up in order to get these killers behind bars?

In August 2010, police arrested a Kenyan at a guest house in Mwanza with an albino compatriot he wanted to sell to a willing Tanzanian buyer. Kenyan MP Isaac Mwaura,  who has albinism, told Radio Deutsche Welle recently that in his country, albinos are referred to as “Bongo”, a moniker for Tanzania.

In some countries, albinos are given special protection. This is not a matter for debate. We have no choice but to end this barbaric scourge. All citizens, regardless of what they look like, deserve a guarantee that they will be protected.