Persecution of people with albinism must end

albino - Picture Credit : CHARTER FOR CHILDREN
albino - Picture Credit : CHARTER FOR CHILDREN

FOR any morally upright citizen, the headline story carried by the media recently of a woman living with albinism who was brutally murdered in her home in Lundazi in a suspected ritual killing last week is a sad development indeed which breaks one’s heart in a Christian nation such as Zambia.
It is quite sad to read about how such cruel shedding of human blood and eventual termination of life can occur unwittingily by some suspected criminals all for selfish gain.
According to the biblical teachings life is considered to be precious and is valued and no-one is permitted to take it away especially the brutal way in which the woman in issue was killed.
The mere description of the events that transpired prior to the time when the deceased met her fate makes one to shudder at the motive of her assailants.
It is even imagineable that the attackers schemed the entire episode to perform the henious act in such circumstances in quick succession without being caught red-handed.
The woman Charity Zimba,37,had both hands cut off and several teeth extracted by the attackers which resulted in the termination of her dear life.
Of course Ms Zimba could not free herself from the grip of the attackers who had out-numbered her on that fateful day.
Ms Zimba who was alive at the time she lost some parts of her body and limbs probably died due to excessive bleeding from the wounds inflicted on her.

Unsuspectingly the attackers four of them struck at the couples’ residence at 19:00 hours.
They further attacked the deceased’s husband who should have protected the wife and left him unconscious after they stabbed him with whatever instruments they had carried with them.
The deceased of chief Magodi’s area was left hopeless at the mercy of the assailants and since the husband was unconscious she could not do much to fight back and they resorted to brutalise her in the manner that they did.
Reading the entire story as was narrated by the authors of course confirmed by the police, made one think as if they were watching a horrific fictitious movie, yet it was realistically true.
It leaves one to wonder as to what has gone wrong with our society.
The issue of witchcraft activities cannot be ruled out here.
A few years ago in Tanzania more people living with albinism people were being killed specifically for their body parts which was linked to witchcraft.
Albinos had become an endangered species not until a campaign was launched last year which was stepped up aimed at protecting them after a rise in the number of those that were murdered.
Back home according to the statement released by police, Ms Zimba and her 42-year-old husband Robin Nyirongo had just settled down to sleep when they heard a knock at the door to which he genuinely responded.
When Mr Nyirongo opened the door four men pushed their way in and stabbed him leaving the man unconscious before going for his wife.

They then grabbed Ms Zimba and cut off her hands before they forcibly extracted her teeth from her mouth after which they fled the scene.
Police have since launched investigations into the matter.
Ms Zimba didn’t die immediately, she passed out later after narrating the whole ordeal to the brother-in law who responded to a distress call.
The killing is not only gruesome but rather shocking to recount and would leave a stigma on friends and close relatives more so the husband.
Mr Nyirongo will definitely be curious to know what had transpired to his dear wife if she was safe or not.
Not to state that the innocent poor woman died such a painful death which she did not deserve and calls for condemnation of all those who think that people living with albinism do not deserve to live normal lives but are targeted for parts of their bodies.
Attacks on such people especially in East Africa are common as it is believed in certain circles that people born without pigment in their skin otherwise known as albinos possess special powers that bring good luck.
Although this notion has not been proved anywhere it is just a mere claim for all we know it.
Thus they are killed for extraction of their body parts.

The recent killing in Lundazi has been condemned because it makes one wonder why people with albinism should live in fear in a land which is their own.
Police have launched investigations into the matter and hopefully the culprits will be brought to book quickly so that they can face the wrath of the law of the land.
To the perpetrators of such criminal activities they should know wherever they are that no one has a licence to kill another person for whatever purpose and albinos who are vulnerable people too with an inherent right to live were no exception.
So they must be protected just like any other citizens.
Killing people living with albinism is a criminal offence which is punisheable within the laws of the land. Regardless of their deficiency in skin pigmentation they too have a right to live normal lives like any other human beings until nature takes its toll on them.
Such killings like the one recited here should not render people living with albinism or anyone other vulnerable human beings to live in fear of such perpetrators of inhuman crimes in a country which is theirs.
The Human Right’s Comission is right on to condemn the killing of Ms Zimba and called on the Government to put in place stringent measures that would safe guard the lives of people living with albinism.

As ealier emphasised people living with albinism have the inherent right to life just like other vulnerable human beings and so they should be protected against all forms of violence or any macabre killings.
Since one life has already been lost in a brutal way then its incumbent upon society to be alert and citizens are obliged to report to the police of any suspicious activities that may place our brothers and sisters in danger.
After all the Bible in Genesis 4:3-9 said we should be every brother’s keeper so our albino brothers and sisters should not be exempted in whatever circumstances they deserve to be protected from those who are bent on taking away their lives for crooked means.