January 22nd 2018

Opinion / Commentaries

Spare no effort in protecting albinos

Amnesty International has released a very worrying report on the threats to people living with albinism in Malawi

By Waithera Murugiswaithera@kenyafreepress.comWednesday, 08 Jun 2016 14:42 EAT

An albino (Photo credit: Amnesty International)

Amnesty International has released a very worrying report on the threats to people living with albinism in Malawi. More than 69 albinos have been attacked in the country over the last two years, with 18 of them being killed.

From Malawi to Tanzania to Mozambique, albinos are under threat on the African continent. Seemingly, many are the people who believe that body parts  from people living with albinism have magical powers that can bring wealth and good luck.  Many witchdoctors order for albino limbs, genitals, hair, nails, teeth, hands or even tongues from their clients!

Media reports have indicated that in Tanzania, election periods are particularly challenging for persons with albinism, as witchdoctors lure politicians seeking  success at the ballot box to pay for their services in albino parts. So serious is the issue that Vickie Ntatema, a former journalist with BBC, now dedicates her time to working with people living with albinism after she won the journalism courage award for highlighting their plight. Vickie deemed the matter so serious  that she abandoned her vocation to help save the lives of albinos.

The Tanzanian Government has outlawed the practice of witchcraft. This is the way to go. Presidents of the other concerned African countries should ensure that the criminals who pose a danger to albinos are punished heavily. The rest of us should launch awareness campaigns to educate society on albinism so that we can all learn to accept and live with albinos as friends, neighbours and relatives deserving of the right to life. 

In this regard, the Albino Beauty Pageant that was held in Mombasa this week was a commendable step.  The event that was organized to encourage albinos in the region to actualise their potential had great impact. A side event dubbed 'Beauty Beyond Color' enabled albino models to showcase their talents. This was a platform presented to them to pass the message that they are no lesser beings. Nominated MP Isaac Mwaura, who is an albino, attended the event.

Waithera is a staff writer at the Kenya Free Press.

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