Good News out of Tanzania; Witchdoctors Are Being Arrested
When the topic of witchdoctors come up on The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, it is almost exclusively in the context of human harm. Today, we have refreshing news about witchdoctors, because in Tanzania, they are being rounded up and arrested.
An official ban has been implemented, and a task force has been targeting criminals who partake in attacks against people with albinism. Albanism is a hereditary genetic condition that causes an absence of pigmentation in the skin, hair, and eyes. Albino people are hunted for their body parts, which the witchdoctors use in rituals to bring about nebulous things such as “good luck” or “fortunes”. As reported by the BBC News, the Tanzanian Home Affairs Minister, Mathias Chikawe, said there would be a nationwide operation to “arrest them and take them to court” if they continued to work.
Their task ahead of them is daunting, because as The Guardian reminded us, there was a survey conducted in 2010 that found while most people in Tanzania are Christian or Muslim, 93% said they believed in witchcraft. Despite the scourge, only 10 people have been convicted of murder.
Ziziyada Nsembo, the secretary-general of The Tanzania Albinism Society, reminded everyone that this will not end the suffering of people with albanism: “It’s just a starting point. The government should understand it is an endless story from 2006 until this time.”