In an emotive article in the Sunday News Sylvester Hanga has reported on a visit to a village 25 kilometres north of Bukoba.
“When artillery bombs from Idi Amin’s forces did not inflict heavy casualties in Kanyigo many of its inhabitants ruled out the possibility of another horror in the near future. They were proved wrong seven years later …. some believe that it was at this place that AIDS mushroomed to the rest of the country.
Houses have been abandoned and some vandalised by departing suspects. The majority of the 10 cell leaders have been left with less than half the number of households they are expected to head. The reason is simple; some have died of AIDS and the rest have taken refuge in neighbouring villages.
Although no survey has been officially carried out to establish the exact number of deaths … a random count of houses with no life inside tells the remaining part of the horror.
Some of the children are seriously malnourished. Some have no parents as they have long been hastily buried …in 1985 people used to turn up in dozens to give the deceased their last respects; not now … some say ‘How could we bury two people from the same roof in the span of one day?’ It has never happened before, at least, not in Kanyigo; not even during the war with Amin’
This is the AIDS era and Kanyigo is witnessing it more than any other part of Kagera region.
Meanwhile in Dar es Salaam Second Vice-President Wakil has launched a five year National AIDS Control Programme and the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Chidua, has been giving AIDS casualty figures from other parts of the country. Singida 18, Musoma 18, Arusha 12 since last year; Kagera region 289 in 1986 alone. The Minister said that he believed that only between 10 and 13% of AIDS patients in Tanzania have reported to hospital.