The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) legislators, yesterday, voted unanimously in support of a motion that will lead to enactment of a law of prohibition of acts of brutality against albinos.
The House granted leave to the mover of the motion, Tanzanian EALA legislator Shyrose Bhanji, to prepare the bill.
Crimes of murder, stigimatisatiion and discrimination of albinos have been rampant in the recent past with most cases reported in Tanzania.
“These crimes are being committed for selfish gains. They are a result of belief in good-luck charm and political leadership positions. The albinos are also faced with stigma. We should come up with a good bill that will help hold accountable all the perpetrators of these acts,” Bhanji said.
Close to 100 albinos have so far been killed in western Tanzania with those behind the attacks trading their body parts for witchcraft purposes.
The legislators implored the EAC partner states to prioritise affirmative action for Persons with Albinism to address a long history of marginalisation.
Patricia Hajabakiga, an EALA member from Rwanda, called on EAC governments to offer free education to albinos.
“Nobody chooses to be what he or she is; it is the act of God. Such acts are criminal and they shouldn’t go unpunished,” said Mike Sebalu, a Ugandan EALA lawmaker.
Another of Rwanda’s EALA members, James Ndahiro, supported the motion, saying that human beings, without fear for the law, usually behave like animals and are destructive.
Article 6(d) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community enjoins the EAC Partner States to uphold, among others, the fundamental principle of good governance, including adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, social justice, equal opportunities and gender equality.
Bhanji also moved a motion on prohibition of acts of gender based violence, and called for increased sensitisation about the issue.
EALA will today debate a report on regional affairs and conflict resolution on the public hearing of a complaint raised in the motion for the peace and security departmernt at the EAC secretariat under the African Peace and Security architecture (APSA) programme.