The long-awaited trial of Late Malawian albino, 22 years MacDonald Masambuka ended on the 27th June 2022, after Justice Dorothy Nyakuanda Kamanga found Reverend Father Thomas Mulhosha, a police officer, a medical Doctor, and others guilty of murder. The Malawian court on the said date, after 4 years of painstaking trial of the murder of an albino who was gruesomely murdered for his body parts planned to be sold for witchcraft, ritual, wealth, and fortune purposes.
In her judgment, the learned judge said the Catholic Priest, Rev. Father Thomas had planned to traffic the victim by first, conspiring with the victim’s blood brother, a police officer, a Doctor and 9 others when they lured him into believing that they have secured a wife for him and convinced him to come see her at a graveyard. Unknown to him he was been deceived to his ‘death trap’ There they ambushed the poor child and killed him, disembodied the corpse, and harvested it for evil purposes. The family of the victim reported on the 7th March, 2018 to the authorities that the victim is missing. And on a search, his remains were found at the graveside with most of the parts missing. The priest and 4 others were jailed for life, while the rest were sentenced for lesser offences for their roles in the murder.
The priest who used to lead a parish in Machinga in the city of Blantyre, in his testimony, said all he wanted was the victim’s bones for his personal profits. Masambuka was just one among the over 40 albinos killed in Malawi from 2014 to 2018.
Albinism is a genetically inherited condition which is rare worldwide and affects approximately one in twenty thousand people. It is quite common in sub-Saharan Africa, in places like Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burundi, Malawi, etc., and as it is today remaining a dangerous place for persons with albinism. You see, in these places, some of their cultures view albinos as punishment from the gods, recipe for good luck and wealth, for instance, a full packaged of an albino can be sold from 75,000 dollars to 100,000 dollars. Meanwhile, in some places they are viewed as a huge cure for HIV/ AIDS, while others see them as good in stews, as delicacies. But some parts of their bodies are superstitiously believed to actualized black magic, protection against evil and their bones use for amulets for detecting gold deposit and other precious stones.
In Malawi, for instance, from 2014, as mentioned above, albinos suffered a wave of crusade of assaults from men who hunt them, kill them, and harvest their body parts for magic and wealth. Over 170 cases were reported involving murder and persecution against the over ten thousand albinos in Malawi. According to Deprose Muchena, Director Amnesty International, ‘the brutal murder of Masambuka is the latest reminder that Malawi remains a dangerous place for persons with albinism. The Malawian government must protect this vulnerable groups from murder, abduction, and persecution, in a context where perpetrators rarely held to account.’ And more pathetic is currently, for those that survived, most of them roam surreptitiously with chopped off limbs. However, the Malawian Police have started distributing security alarm to these vulnerable people which in an event of threat, can be triggered to alert the Police.
This advice must be sound to cover all the countries in the world that discriminate against the albinos. They are incredibly special people and all hands must be on deck to protect them.