Again this week the image of Tanzania has been tarnished on the very face of its own citizens and the international community. Sadly, which is understatement, a child with Albinism condition was found dead without hands and limbs. He had brutually been killed. All Tanzanians know that this was done out of wicked demonic faiths –witchcraft. It is not the first time.
Being an Albino is a security threat in Tanzania.
With many such cases over the years, only little has been done in the country both by citizens (the community) and the government to stop such brutality. However, this recent case is promising to be a critical juncture on which the citizens are saying NO MORE to such shameful inhuman act.
Before going too far, it is fair to start by saying that killing of innocent children, the elderly, etc out of witchcraft is something that is almost ‘common’ in Tanzanian society and very unfortunately the communities have often being silent about it. Brutal killings in the communities go unreported or unpunished and this has encouraged the practice. Sometimes such killings are not necessarily out of witchcraft but other issues too. I have a personal experience. My uncle (my dad’s brother) was killed in 2003. By the time we (the family) realised that he was missing, a week had passed. The thorough search with the help of the police force found his body hidden in a water furrow in the village where he was living. Apparently he had been killed by his neighbour out of a “domestic” conflict. The rest of the neighbourhood knew but no one dared to say anything. They had all resorted to keep silent. This is what happens to many Albinos in Tanzania and we keep silent. This has to change.
In this small entry, I would like to speak on what the government must do in its position. Although there’s a bigger room for citizens to do something, in here I will only speak on the government because I think the issue needs a structural action in addition to the much needed spiritual deliverance and cultural transformation.
The government needs to SECURITIZE the killings of Albino in Tanzania. In International Relations (I’ve written about this before) there is theory that is known as the New Security Agenda put forth by students/scholars of Copenhagen School of Thought as Barry Buzan and Ole Weiver. In this theory, the core term is ‘securitization’. Securitization refers to the decision of a government to give a certain matter/issue an extraordinary reaction. Thus to the killing of Albino would be securitized if it receives an extraordinary reaction from the government or an institution with an authority to act.
In that respect, ‘extraordinary’ is our main highlight here and a point of reference. Do we think our government has taken an extraordinary action or extraordinarily reacted to these inhuman acts in Tanzania? It has, obviously, not done so. It is better doing it so now…because!!!…well here is the list of the reasons I think it should…
- It is an extremely painful issue- how on earth do we stand ‘normal’ in the face of killing our fellow citizens only because they have a condition- Albinism? This pain is in itself a enough excuse for the government to take extraordinary measures.
- Security threat- already citizens (at least I see in social media) are reacting and planning to take on street demonstrations in trying to send a message and calling on the government to take measures. Such are expressions of grieviences from citizens, which if not addressed carefully and wisely, may incrementally result into chaotic situations and threaten the peace we are often so proud of.
- Image- in International Relations, image is an important variable in foreign policy analysis and also in achieving national strategic interests. If there is one variable that has kept Tanzania in the world map and international public sphere in spite of poverty etcera is our image. Now this image has been on the degrade with various issues including drugs and we are currently scratching it further with witchcraft and consequent killing of innocent children…Realism talks about balance of power, and we are of course doing very bad on that…on deficit…yet the very little intangible things that have been holding us up are now waning….Thus securitizing this issue would also serve Tanzania’s image in the face of international community- which is a serious security unit of analysis….(I could write pages on this…especially in relations to the issues of our neighbours and our position in the region…but I will stop here)!
To end, I ask my government to go against all bureaucratic and political odds to securitize the killing of albino in Tanzania….
I will next reflect on Marquez’ 100 Years of Solitude and further expound on this issue…let’s #StopKillingAlbino in #Tanzania!