Protection of albinos; new law not necessary


Rezke Hakimana with her daughter Fabiola who has Albinism watching the documentary 'A Place for Myself'. Fabiola acted in the movie. (File)


RE: “EALA wants strict law against murder of albinos” (The New Times, January 25).

Laws alone cannot reverse crime committed against the albino community in East Africa. People need to be educated and helped to understand how albinos came to be who they are and that they are human beings like everybody else.

We still have many people in East Africa who are still superstitious and the best way to change their beliefs is not, instituting tougher laws. After all, all East African countries have death penalty, except Rwanda, where albinos do not face the same dangers as they do in Tanzania for instance.

So, what other tougher punishment than death are our EA legislators planning to introduce? The only way to combat crime committed against albinos is education and not tougher laws.




But isn’t murder already a capital crime? How then does this proposal solve the abomination of a society that targets certain people—whether albino, short people, tall people, people with certain distinguishing marks, children under a certain age or people of any given characteristics for murder—because allegedly their body parts are essential in some superstitious rituals aimed at getting rich quickly or bewitching rivals and enemies?

Failure to protect albinos or any other targeted people is not an issue of gaps in the law; murder is murder, no matter who is targeted. The failure is a symptom of a society’s extreme backwardness and that of any government that has failed to: a) educate its society to eschew such backwardness, and b) identify, apprehend, try and give exemplary punishments to the maximum provided by the law to those involved in these macabre crimes.

If governments are unable or unwilling to apply themselves to eradicating these growing crimes, it is perhaps because there are powerful individuals in government and business who are complicit in them and who are able to pervert the effective application of the existing laws as they apply to murder.

If that is the case more laws isn’t the answer. What is required is for President John Pombe Magufuli to give this issue as much attention as he has given to draining the swamp of extreme corruption in government that he inherited from his predecessor, for make no mistake, the failure to protect albinos in Tanzania from these murders is also a sign of the failure of governance.

The laws already exist—ensure they are effectively applied before you enact new ones that will remain equally ineffectively applied.

Mwene Kalinda