21 January 2013

Tanzania: Police Nab Suspect of Superstitious Killings

THE prime suspect behind indiscriminate killing of the disabled and other innocent individuals on superstitious beliefs has been arrested following painstaking police investigations, it has been revealed.

The arrest was made shortly after recent reports of the brutal murder of five people in Mara region where five women were beheaded but not a drop of blood was seen.

Preliminary police investigations revealed that blood from the slain victims was collected and sold to traders in Geita dealing in minerals for superstitious rituals.

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda made the revelation at the Diamond Jubilee Hall in Dar es Salaam on Sunday as he officiated a get-together party organized by the IPP Executive Chairman, Dr Reginald Mengi, who offered lunch and drinks to more than 8,000 guests.

Without revealing the name of the suspect in Geita, Pinda elaborated on measures taken to combat the practice that causes devastation particularly to people with albinism.

"In 2010 the government passed The Disabled Act No. 9 which entails among other things punishment to all those violating the rights of the disabled. The regulations are ready along with the establishment of the National Consultative Council for the Disabled and the establishment of the National Fund for the Disabled," Mr Pinda said.

He had more; "Various stakeholders including religious leaders, politicians and law enforcers have assisted in the fight against killings of innocent people who are created in the likeness of God. The police will continue to pursue all culprits to join the suspect arrested in Geita to face justice," PM Pinda explained.

He commended Dr Mengi for his generosity which he said conveyed a stronger message than just taking food and drinks. According to current statistics, there are 4.5 million people with disabilities in Tanzania.

"Those who do not care for the disabled should recognize their existence and their needs just like any other person. Those fond of making huge contributions for wedding ceremonies and ignore a needy neighbour should remember that we will all leave this world with nothing," he said.

Mr Pinda said he would arrange for an audience with Dr Mengi to discuss in length strategies to prepare a sustainable framework for effective coordination of activities and affairs of the disabled both socially and financially.

"The chairman (Mengi) has really inspired me in sincerely caring for the disabled. He has contributed 100m/- as initial capital to VICOBA fund for the members to borrow money for income generation activities. Education and health services have improved to benefit the disabled," Pinda said.

Responding to the remarks by the prime minister, Dr Mengi said cases of discrimination and torture to the disabled are still reported in different parts of the country, as some families deny them their basic rights.

"There are drugs dealers who continue to ruin the future of the younger generation. Drugs supplied to the community cause brain damage and other related complications. These people must be brought to justice," Mengi said.

Zena Mrisho (39) from Kimara in Dar es Salaam who lost her sight at the age of six after surviving an inferno that reduced their house to ashes said she thanked the IPP chairman for assistance he renders to her and others.

"I am thankful to the organizers of this event. Although I cannot see but I feel respected and recognized in the society. As you know hardly a few well-to-do persons remember the disabled. I have attended this kind of event 19 times," Zena said.

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