Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kenya: High number of Tanzanian witchdoctors worrying

Albino children playing in school. Human Trafficking in Tanzania of albinos for withcraft has been high which may spill to Kenya.
The number of Tanzanian witchdoctors or ones purporting to have trained in the country is disturbing in Kenya.
Posters and sign boards from these witchdoctors claiming to cure a myriad of ailments like gonorrhea, lost love, lost family members, court cases, business among others is shocking. Often they are openly placed on electricity posts in markets, streets and estates.
Most have Arab names apprehended with ‘Dr.’ claiming expertise from Tanzania with preferred destinations being Suba Wanga, Pemba, Tanga, Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar.
Since practicing witch craft is illegal in Kenya, why are the police dragging their feet to arrest them when they easily advertise their services complete with phone numbers? Are the ‘Tanzanians’ allowed in the country legally by the immigration department?
Tanzania has been on the spot for human trafficking and killing of albinos by witch doctors making their open presence in kenya to worry.
Unlike Kenya, Tanzania tolerates the witch craft and traditional medicine like the recent nod given by their government to the Loliondo wonder concoction.  
In Kenya the trade is hated if the lynching of suspected witches in Kisii, Malindi and most recently Kisumu is anything to go by. Traditional medicine too is alternative pushing genuine herbalist to shed off ‘witchcraft’ tag by selling their drugs on streets and bus terminals.
This community ‘justice’ shows the failure of law enforcement in curbing the spread of black art and the need of a tribe to appear clean nationally.
Ironically, this have lead Kenyans plying the trade to opt for ‘Tanzania’ tag to avoid society’s scorn. The tag suits for safety even though their tribes are adept at the trade they won’t advertise it.
I call on the Tanzania high commissioner to Kenya to work closely with the government to flush out the witch doctors since in East Africa Integration they give Tanzania a bad image as an hub of black magic.

(Published on Daily Nation 15th June 2011, The People 16th June 2011, The EastAfrican 7-14 June 2011)

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