Tanzania: Woman Ditched Over Albino Children

Flora Mabula, who lives in Nyamikoma Village,Misungwi District in Mwanza Region, was abandoned by her husband after giving birth to albino children.

Flora, 34, is one of the unlucky mothers, the husband abandoned her sixteen years ago after telling her that in their clan they did not produce albinos, whom he described as a curse. According to her, giving birth to a child with albinism is like a punishment from God.

The mother of four is now struggling to take care of her family alone. She claims to have been ditched by husband sixteen years ago over giving birth to babies with albinism.

The traumatised mother says her husband claimed to have been tired of looking at white faces (his children) since he is an African.

"When I left his place, I was pregnant and had three children, Manyasha Emmanuel, Mariam Emmanuel and Minda Emmanuel. I later gave birth to Joyce Emmanuel who is deformed by nature," she says.

For Flora, life has become hard, especially in raising the children single-handedly, including her father, who is suffering from chronic cancer on his right leg. She says even her mother can neither walk nor stand up.

She never thought that one day her husband would change and run away from his loving children, who, she admits, were born according to God's wish.

It was on August 14, 2008. The day will ever remain in Flora's mind after one of her children was abducted and beheaded in the middle of the night by unknown people. After the killing, the slayers made away with a tongue, throat and knees of the innocent slain child.

"I did not believe my eyes when I saw my beloved daughter, Mariam, lying dead in a pool of blood without legs. At first, I comforted myself that I could have been dreaming," she recounts.

The body of Mariam was found at dawn, after flies were seen buzzing around one of the doors of the house where the brutal killing took place.

Efforts were made everywhere to find the killers, whom the government also promised to pursue but till now no one has been arrested.

"It was a moment of sadness and encouragement when my relatives comforted me that they would ensure the perpetrators got arrested. But I wonder after the burial of Mariam nothing has been done," Flora says sadly.

However, the woman suspects her x-husband of taking part in the killing of his own daughter, Mariam. She says the groups he had been associating with were accused of killing people with albinism in the Lake Zone.

"He vividly hated my kids, but I thank God that I'm still alive and care for my big family through the little help I get from well-wishers," she says.

A local non-governmental organisation, Under the Same Sun, took her son, Manyashi, and promised to pay fees for him at a special school called Mitindo, before he was transferred to Alliance High School in Mwanza city where he is in Form One now.

"Despite all that help, I still don't meet the needs required at home, my parents are sick and since I have no money to pay for their medical charges. I just struggle to make them have food and wash their clothes while awaiting God's miracle to get them healed," she said.

Flora fears that even his son, Manyasi can one day become a prey of abductors that is why she does not want him to come home for holidays.

More than 200 witchdoctors and traditional healers were arrested last year in a crackdown on the murder of albino people.

The killings have been driven by the belief - advanced by some soothsayers - that the body parts have properties that confer wealth and good luck.

About thirty 30 people have been convicted of the murder of innocent members of the public. There is a misguided belief that if a person goes fishing or mining with a 'body part' of a person with albinism, he would return with a good catch or a handful of grams of minerals.

This misguided belief has sometimes driven some people to engage in the killings of their innocent brothers and sisters because of get-rich quick decisions. However, Flora urges society to stop killing albinos, saying, God's judgement would be tougher for murderers when their time comes. She calls on the government to take stern measures against the killers.

Since 2000, a spate of murders has left more than 72 Tanzanian people with albinism dead. Studies show that getting the exact number of Tanzania's albino population is difficult as estimates have been varying wildly. The government has undertaken a national survey of albinos but has not released its findings. Albino advocacy groups put the number somewhere above 100,000, out of a total population of roughly 48 million people.

Source: The Citizen