A magistrate’s court in northwest Tanzania sentenced 28-year old Nathan Mutei, after he pleaded guilty to charges of human trafficking and abduction with intention to sell an albino man, also Kenyan, for 400 million Tanzanian shillings around $A263,000.
After the judge handed in the sentencing, Tanzanian albino group applauded the court’s judgment, but called for tougher punishment for offenders.
“We as albino society in Mwanza as well as Tanzania albino society totally agree with the judgment and decision made by the magistrate,” said Albino Society official Alfred Kapole.
Mutei’s sentences will run simultaneously for each count, meaning that he will spend only nine years in a Tanzanian prison after he failed to pay the fine.
Albinos always at risk
Local resident says albinos are always at risk and the problem is much more than the outside world gets to hear about and hoped with the sentencing then the process of human trafficking will come to an end.
“The albino problem is big and it has been discussed, we thank God he has received a big punishment and we hope others will learn through,” said a local resident who did not want to be named.
At least 53 albinos have been killed since 2007 in the east African nation and their body parts sold for use in witchcraft, especially in the remote northwest regions of Mwanza and Shinyanga, both gold-mining regions where superstition is rife.
Albinos lack pigment in their skin, eyes and hair.
There are around 170,000 albinos living in Tanzania.
Albino hunters kill their victims and harvest their blood and body parts such as hair, genitals and limbs for potions.
Witchdoctors tell their clients that the body parts will bring them luck in love, life and business.
Police officers said, during the interrogation they realised the motive behind Mutei bringing Robinson to Tanzania was not securing a job for him but to trade him.
“After interrogation we realised that this person, who was selling his colleague is called Nathan Mutei 28 years old and resident of Kitale in Rift Valley, he told Robinson Mkwana that there are people with cars in Mwanza looking for conductors and were offering good salaries.
Robinson knew that he was coming to secure a job,” said Mwanza police commander Simon Siro.
Tanzania headed for October elections
Tanzania is due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in October. The Tanzania Albino Society fears there could be a new wave of albino killings in eastAfrica’s second largest economy ahead of the vote.
It is common for some politicians to visit witchdoctors during elections in belief that their powers will boost their chances of victory.
Robinson sent an appeal to all those who aspire to get jobs without proper contract to be wary of what they are being promised giving an example with what happened to him.
“I’m warning people with albinisms that don’t accept people who are pretending they want to help you to secure a job, while they are looking at making some money by selling you, don’t listen to their offer based on what my colleague did to me, he told me in Kenya that there are jobs in but there are no jobs and only wanted to trade me in,” said Robinson Mutei.
Albino killings have soiled Tanzania’s reputation for relative calm in the region, and have been condemned by the United Nations and European Union.
In neighbouring Burundi, at least 11 albinos have been killed since last year. So far 13 people have been convicted, including one who received a life sentence.