Tanzania’s confused response to the witchcraft related albino killings continues. Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda (a lawyer) started the year by calling for perpetrators to be lynched. President Kikwete had ended 2008 by announcing a ‘referendum’ of sorts whereby people could anonymously submit the names of albino killers. The police would follow up.
Now the exercise is set for the second week of March, Mwananchi newspaper reports, with people being called on to grass up not only albino killers but also armed robbers and drug dealers. Truly, we are facing a witch hunt.
Unfortunately, no funds are available for the exercise, so local governments charged with running this ‘referendum’ will need to defer other spending.
Witchcraft related killings will continue. In the 90s it was old women. Now it is albinos. It will be you next. How do you tackle such crimes in a country where considerable numbers, old and young; rich and poor, believe in witchcraft?
Under the circumstances, Kikwete could do worse than take up the offer made by one Emmanuel Makene. Makene has been chosen as Tanzania’s Young Lawyer of the Year. Currently a lawyer with state owned Tanzania Standard Newspapers, he also seems to be a rising star in the ruling CCM party. All in all, future leader material.
An extensive interview with him was published in yesterday’s Habari Leo (one of his employer’s papers, but no link available to the story). His very unique selling point? Psychic powers, about which he claims to have approached the authorities to assist in the, eh, witch hunt. But don’t get me wrong. He tells us:
It is not witchcraft, it is expertise. If someone dies in unnatural circumstances, there’s a certain environment that lingers and transmits information that can help identify the suspect.
Makene, it is reported, can communicate with the dead. If taken to the scene within 100 hours of the crime, Makene can identify the main suspect.
If this is how rising stars here in town in are thinking, a ‘referendum’ may be as useful as anything else in stopping these barbaric killings.