Visiting Shinyanga, the region most affected by the killing of Albinos, so that their body parts can be used in traditional medicine, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda made a controversial statement suggesting that those caught red handed murdering albinos should be instantly killed. To wait for court action was to delay justice, he said. . “I know some people will raise the question of human rights but I can’t accept a situation when someone is handed to the police and then stands trial that drags on for years.”
He said that while he was on tour three more albinos had been killed and the people who killed them just cut off the organs which they needed. He went on: “My intention was good. I intended to threaten the killers into stopping their brutal actions and I thought that what I said would help in the efforts to curb the problem.”
The Chairman of the UDP party, John Cheyo, said his party supported the idea of summary execution of people caught killing albinos, adding that no other punishment was suitable for them. He said that the ritual killing of albinos had become a national crisis while many of the perpetrators were acquitted – Majira.
When the PM returned to the parliament in Dodoma, opposition parties demanded that he should resign. Pinda apologised for his remarks in Shinyanga and, in tears, explained that he had been very upset by the magnitude of the problem he had found while on his tour. His apology was accepted. He added that he had requested religious and political leaders to help end the problem which was ruining the good image of the country. Al-Shymaa Kwegyir MP, who is an albino, said there had been nothing wrong with the statement because the PM’s intention was to end the killings. Those condemning the PM had never visited the places where albinos were being killed – Guardian.
Pinda also announced that he was going to revoke licences for traditional healers as a step towards combating the killings. He has been assured by the Attorney General that this could be done under the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act 2002. Pinda asked regional and district heads and local governments to enforce the order. Those applying for fresh licenses should submit their medicines to the Muhimbili National Hospital for scrutiny and approval – Tanzania Daima.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Observer asked: ‘Is Ukerewe Island becoming a safe hideout for albinos?’ It reported that many Albinos were flocking to the remote island in Lake Victoria, where killing them is rare.