Olevia J. Kelley
Zomba Senior Resident Magistrate Court in Mangochi sentenced 49 year old Samson Allison to 21 years in jail for kidnapping a child with albinism on November 24th. Samson kidnapped his own 4 year old nephew,
Prosecution Officer Senior Superintendent Dickens Mwambazi of the Eastern Region told the court that the Samson together with his accomplice Jafali Ligomeka (44) connived to sell the boy to unknown culprits at a price of K6 million.
On November 20 during night time the mother left the child in the hands of her mother and went to a funeral. The men then took the boy to an unknown location/
The two were later arrested but the buyers are yet to be arrested.
Appearing before court, Allison pleaded guilty to the charge of kidnapping whilst Ligomeka pleaded not guilty.
Allison was convicted & Ligomeka’s case went to trial and he is now on remand.
In his submission, Senior Superintendent Mwambazi prayed for a stiff sentence since the conduct of the convict is inhuman and cannot be condoned in the society.
In his ruling, Resident Magistrate Chamdimba Nkhata sentenced Allison to 21 years imprisonment with hard labour
The Samson is from Village Tumbwe Traditional Authority Namavi in the district of Mangochi.
" This should act as a ringing bell to would be offenders."
By Olevia James-Kelley
The Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has made a commitment to the people of Fiji with albinism. He was in Suva last week with the UN's Independent Expert on enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ikponwasa Ero. He set out a vision to address the complexity associated with albinism and the unique obstacles faced by Fijians living with the condition.
Topics discussed include:
*Solutions to ease their integration into society.
*Ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
*Economic growth for persons with albinism
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum pointed out the Government looked forward to working with the office of the Independent Expert to ensure progressive realisation of rights of persons with albinism and disabilities.
"Fiji strives to set a bold example in inclusive development by ingraining equal opportunity into our economic growth," he said.
Meanwhile, Ms Ero said persons with albinism were usually sensitive to sunlight, and thereby more prone to skin cancer, which can pose a particular risk in tropical climates such as Fiji.
What do you think? Does more need to be done or is this at least a good start. Leave a comment.....
At St. Mary's Primary School in Karonga, several children have stopped attending leaving only two.
Authorities at St. Mary's Primary School have confirmed the development saying the drop outs have increased in the wake of attacks against persons with albinism in some parts of the country.
So far there has been 66 attacks that have been reported to authorities in Malawi against PWA's
6 were killed, 3 are missing, and 14 where kidnapped. 2 were assaulted and 12 people were found with bones suspected to be of people with albinism. 1 person was arrested for conduct likely to cause breach of peace and 28 for tampering with graves of people with albinism.
There have been over 69 arrest in connection with these crimes, but police are still investigating.
The Roman Catholic run primary school, under the Karonga Diocese, is renowned for accommodating many children with albinism from Karonga and Chitipa districts.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency, the Head of the special needs education at the school, Robert Manda said the school used to have over 14 children with albinism, but the number has drastically dropped to only two.
"The school has a great record on children with albinism but our record now is in endangered due to threat on their lives," said Manda.
He added: "The school and the community around the premise ensured the security but parents are reluctant to send their children here."
Manda attributed the alarming level of children drop out to parents' fear for security of their children even though police patrol the premise every night.
According to the President of the Association of People Leaving with Albinism, Boniface Massa, the abductions and killings of people with albinism have been on arise in the past three months to an extent that it is now affecting learners.
"It is unfortunate that we albinos still don't feel safe in our own country and this is affecting us as we are failing to contribute to our communities and to a country as whole," worried Massa.
He therefore pleaded with all stakeholders including Non Governmental Organization (NGOs) to pull up their socks in fighting against the evil practice, saying the battle is not for government alone.
According to statistics, in the past month 66 cases of albino abduction and killings were recorded against the 50 cases recorded in the previous months
By: Olevia James
No matter how many happy things you see someway, somehow evil comes along to balance it. I guess ????
I'm up to here with it , but has society really had enough? Maybe there isn't enough political agenda behind Albinism for governments to really do something about the fact that innocent people, especially children are being killed, kidnapped, or banished just based on their appearance.
Not enough is being done!!!!
A husband sent his wife away after she gave birth to two children with albinism, saying she had engaged in an affair with a white man in their neighborhood. The mother of three said her husband asked her to leave claiming his lineage did not have "such traits”.
She said her husband, a police officer, beat and sent her away on several occasions but that she kept returning, hoping he would have a change of heart.
But the situation worsened in 2011, when she gave birth to a boy who also had Albinism, she said. The woman said her husband threatened to kill her if she did not leave with the children, forcing her to give up their eight-year marriage.
“In 2014, I felt so depressed that I considered killing the children and then committing suicide,” she told the press at her uncle’s home in Baringo Central.
She was overwhelmed by the stigma from family members and her community as no one else had children with albinism.
“Members of my extended family teamed up with villagers and pressured me to get rid of the children, whose birth they said was a bad omen. They advised me to sell them in Tanzania," she said.
The woman said it took counseling by church elders and officials from the Department of Children and Social Services for her to begin living positively with her children.
She went to live with her widowed mother, who works as a caretaker and a weaver, and helps provide for and educate the children.
Baringo woman representative Grace Kiptui regretted that most families which physically challenged children are embarrassed by them and deny them their basic rights
Speaking in Kabarnet town on Thursday, she urged residents to accept the children, and seek assistance from the government and charitable organizations.
At least 15 people with albinism, mostly children, had been killed, wounded, abducted or kidnapped in East Africa in the last 10 months with a marked increase in Malawi, Tanzania and Burundi, according to the United Nations.
UN officials said at least six attacks on children with albinism were reported in Malawi in the first 10 weeks of 2015 compared to four incidents over the previous two years and gangs were roaming the southern district of Machinga hunting for victims.
Tanzania has banned witch doctors to try to stop the trade in body parts used in spells and charms claiming to bring luck, love and wealth, and Burundi is trying to safeguard people with Albinism by accommodating them in housing with police protection.
It's unfair that people with albinism in Africa must live in fear & how much education about albinism is Tanzania, Malawi, & Burundi really giving. It's 2015 this type of thinking must stop.
“This is possibly the worst time to be a person with albinism in Tanzania,” says Amir Manento.
In October, citizens will go to the polls to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections.
“Every election period brings with it a new cycle of killings. In between we have smaller elections translating to more abductions, more killings,” said Manento, a retired judge and human rights activist, who for decades has been at the forefront of campaigning for the rights of people living with albinism.
“We see an increase of witchcraft and the use of human body parts, particularly albino body parts, in the run-up to the general elections.”
Albino body parts are associated with good luck and, as the country gears up for the elections, the demand for good luck charms goes up. Sacrifices are thought by some to be a sure way of guaranteeing victory in the polls.
Fishing and mining communities
“Albino hunting came into the limelight around 10 years ago, particularly within the fishing and mining communities,” says Benson Bana, a political science and public administration lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam.
He believes one cause of the problem lies in the financial downturn in the area around Lake Victoria, one of the regions where there have been the most killings and abductions.
“A certain poverty touched our people after the privatization of fishing activities in Lake Victoria,” he says. “Everything was being controlled, from where one could fish to the size of the holes in his fishing net. The result was diminished harvests.
“Every above-average catch by the little guys was then attributed to superstition. This is when witch-doctors started peddling the belief that people living with albinism, or their body parts, could be used as good luck charms.”
Bana believes this devastating association was passed on to neighboring mining communities.
“Eventually it caught wind and was looked upon as a legitimate way of acquiring riches and power by some individuals. Hence the association with politicians.”
Others disagree, saying that medicine killings have occurred “since time beyond memory”.
Tanzania is thought to have one of the world’s largest populations of people with albinism, a congenital disorder that robs skin, eyes and hair of pigment. This community of about 30 000 has existed under the threat of abductions and ritual killings; in recent years the situation appears to have worsened.
A complete set of albino body parts – including all four limbs, genitals, ears, tongue and nose – can fetch up to $75 000, according to a report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The Tanzanian Albinism Society says it is almost impossible to know how many have been abducted or killed since the beginning of the year. But they say the number of victims will be higher than the two cases that made it into police records in 2013.
“Even last year the numbers might have been higher because these crimes are very intimate. Mostly, a close family member, even a father, is involved in the killings and abductions. In such cases silence wins; his wife will probably be an accomplice in the crime. Nothing will be said of the matter again and the police will have no chance of prosecuting anyone,” says Severin Edward, program coordinator for the Tanzanian Albinism Society.
A total of 155 cases of violation of albino rights have been reported to Tanzanian authorities since 2009, according to a study released in March by Under the Same Sun (UTSS), a nongovernmental organisation working to combat discrimination against people with albinism.
“Of these cases, 75 were deaths. We have also received 18 reports of grave violations,” said Don Sawatzky, director of operations for UTSS. The study, which gathered data from 25 countries in Africa, found reports of 145 albino killings and 226 cases of violations that include mutilations and kidnappings.
UTSS has been pushing the United Nations for key resolutions aimed at ending all forms of discrimination against people with albinism.
Sawatzky argues that to describe the killings as a phenomenon propelled by recent economic hardship would be “to accept the easy answer”.
“Nobody really knows the origin of the killings, since documentation in Africa is not common other than through oral tradition. All we know for sure is that albinism has been ‘mythologized’ since time beyond memory. Muti murders, or ‘medicine’ killings, have a deep, long-standing history and are a familiar concept to most Africans,” he says.
Kenya’s first albino member of Parliament, Isaac Mwaura, says it is time that measures are put in place to end these killings and abductions, and that existing laws need to be adhered to by all affected countries.
“Kenya has strict trafficking laws, the same as Tanzania. What makes it possible for criminals to take our children, mothers, fathers or brothers across borders and sell them off like commodities to witch doctors? Enforcement of laws is one of the weakest links in this war,” says Mwaura.
“We have become the hunted. Neither we nor our children are safe. Fathers are betraying their children’s trust and selling them off like unwanted baggage. Mothers are conspiring to traffic their own flesh and blood to senseless deaths.”
Effort from government and public
In Tanzania, the government has been working with NGOs and civil society, and results are now being seen. “Never before have we seen so much effort from the government and the general public. At least we are now getting convictions, primarily because investigations are more thorough and new laws are being set up,” says Manento. “Although no executions have taken place, a total of 17 individuals have received the death sentence, some of them as recently as March, when four individuals, including the husband of the murdered victim, were convicted,” he said.
To win this war, NGOs at the forefront believe collusion must come to an end: “We must educate families to understand that having such a child is not a gateway to quick riches. We then encourage the rest of the community to speak up,” says Edward. “The society needs to be more empowered and supported to co-operate. For instance, when family members are involved in killings or abductions it is quite difficult to get witnesses because even they are not assured of their security.”
Sawatzky believes the war will be won, but not soon. “Like all forms of discrimination, it will take several generations to achieve. I will not see the war won in my lifetime. The youth and future generations are the best answer to this war,” he said.
People need to be sensitized, says Justus Kamugisha, regional police chief in Shinyanga, in north Tanzania. “We need to make our people understand there are no shortcuts to prosperity. Taking [someone’s] life, regardless of his condition, is murder, for which you will be charged.”
Source: The Guardian
Where Uniqueness Lies The ultimate treasure hunt for the key in our brains that unlocks our difference.
Hi there!!! It's me Olevia with the latest.......
Where Uniqueness Lies by GARY MARCUS is a very interesting article about what really makes us unique. What make you you!! This article really compelles you to think and where is society heading.
Read the full story & comment your thoughts
Happy DNA day!!! It's been 60 years already since the double helix was first discovered. And of course DNA companies are ready to get in on the Celebration sites like Ancestry.com are offering a 20% discount on its genealogically-focused DNA test.
Also sites like 23&me's are offering a 20% discount when ordering multiple kits. National Geographic’s Genographic Project is turning ten years old this month, and so they’re offering a $10 discount for the test.
Each year we get closer and closer to understanding ourselves & where we come from thanks to direct-to-consumer DNA testing. So interested in understanding your Albinism more & where it started from in your family without braking the bank. These might be some options for you.
Happy DNA Day!!! Discover yourselves.
Last week Sunday President Jakaya Kikwete was addressing bishops at the consecration of Bishop Liberatus Sangu of the Shinyanga Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church held at the Ngokolo Cathedral on Sunday.
He used the opportunity to respond to allegations leveled against the government
that it was not taking adequate measures to address the killings. "I have one special request to you religious leaders.
The president insisted that people must understand how the justice system works in Tanzania especially when it come to the death penalty.
"I have one special request to you religious leaders.
Help us educate the society to do away with these superstitious beliefs. The elderly are killed just because of being red-eyed; such deep rooted ignorance is also leading to the brutal killings of people with albinism," He said.
What are your thoughts. Do you think President
Jakaya is doing everything in his power?? Leave a comment after reading the full story.
Source : AllAfrica
Malawi Nyasa Times | The Anglican Church in Malawi has appealed to all Malawians to take part in protecting people living with albinism and reporting any criminal acts by any suspects in our society.
The Church said it is sickened with reports that people living with albinism are still living in fear because some segments in the society continue hunting for their lives or body parts.
Chairman of the Anglican Council in Malawi, the Right Reverend Vitta Brighton Malasa, who disclosed that the Anglican Communion is monitoring the events and constantly engaging relevant sectors, observed that it is high time the nation joined hands in “uprooting this evil” so that sanity returns in the country.
One thing is for sure It is certainly about time that other countries in Africa not turn a blind eye to what is going on in Tanzania. Especially since the Tanzanian government seems to not do anything unless the U.N. or other countries shame them. In this writers opinion we need to put more pressure on the Tanzanian government. There should be a heavy campaign educating people about Albinism in Tanzania. I mean what are they waiting for. What are your thoughts???
Read the full article by clicking below......
#Albinism #Tanzania #Malawi