Kenyan albinos demand protection

August 20, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 20 – The Albinism Society of Kenya (ASK) has accused the government of ignoring their plight following recent incidences and attacks on albinos in neighbouring Tanzania.

National Coordinator Isaac Mwaura said on Friday that the government had failed to adopt measures that would protect those with the condition despite being directed by Parliament to do so.

Mr Mwaura said none of the government institutions charged with implementing the proposals had honoured them so far.

“The responsibilities were given to the Ministry of Justice who were supposed to act within 21 days. The Finance Ministry was supposed to look at how to subsidise the costs of buying some of our products (like sun screen) but nothing has been done. We even went to the ministry of Planning and they declined to include us in the last census,” he said.

Last July, Parliament discussed a petition presented on behalf of albinos by Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa seeking to have the government amend the Disability Act to include those with the condition.

Mr Mwaura argued that the government ought to conduct a census on those with albinism so as to determine how to adequately address their issues.

The ASK also asked President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to publicly condemn the discrimination meted against those with the condition saying it would show the seriousness of the issue.

“What is the view of the principals or the Vice President? Why are they not talking about it? Is it because it’s not a sexy issue? Do they only talk about Kenyans when looking for votes? Are we not Kenyans with rights?” he quipped.

They also asked the government to intensify the security they provided to those with albinism noting that most lived in fear. Society Chairman Alex Munyere claimed that there were albinos who could not even leave their for fear of being attacked.

“There’s a girl in Kayole who refuses to even go to the shops because of the experiences she has had. We urge members of the public not to call us names and discuss or stare at us. Engage us; don’t just stare,” he pleaded.

Meanwhile the Albinism Foundation of East Africa (AFEA) has also accused Tanzanian authorities of failing to control the ritualistic killings targeting albinos. Those with the condition are abducted, trafficked across the borders and sold for witchcraft. Witchdoctors in that country believe their body parts have supernatural powers that can make those in their possession rich and powerful.

“Since the killings of persons with albinism began in Tanzania almost three years ago, the Albinism Foundation of East Africa has noted with alarm the seeming inability of the Government of Tanzania to bring the killings to an end,” read a statement from the society.

But the society commended quick response that led to the arrest of a Kenyan who wanted to sell an albino there: “Their quick actions in ensuring Robinson’s safety and giving him security are commendable.”

The Kenyan man was jailed on Wednesday for 17 years in Tanzania for attempting to sell a fellow Kenyan (who’s an albino).

AFEA also asked all the governments in the East African region to ensure that all persons with albinism and their families were secure and safe. They also want the governments to conduct a census on those with the condition.

The two societies are also advocating against terms that stereotype people living with albinism. They argue that the terms are discriminatory.

On Wednesday a Tanzanian court sentenced the Kenyan (Nathan Mutei) accused of trying to sell his fellow Kenyan (Robinson Mkwama) to 17 years in jail in addition to a Sh4.059 million fine. Mr Mutei pleaded guilty to human trafficking.


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