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The Price of Potions

2 November 2009

There are further developments in the albino-killing saga that has been taking place in Tanzania for over a year. Four men were recently sentenced to death for murdering an albino man last year; just one of many such killings in an area where witchdoctors sell good-luck potions made from the body parts of albino people for thousands of dollars.

In September, the first ruling of this type took place when three men where sentenced to death for murdering a young albino boy. Now four more men have been sentenced, but it doesn’t seem that the albino community is really any safer.  While the death sentence will act as a deterrent to some, and BBC’s Eric Nampesya in Shinyanga says many Tanzanians are happy with the ruling because they believe it is sending a message that such killings will not be tolerated, it seems that nothing has been done to destroy the incentive to kill albinos.

The people there are very obviously concerned that there is body-part trafficking going on, but I’ve seen no reports that these Witchdoctor brews are being outlawed, or that people are facing any sort of punishment for purchasing them. As long as people continue to buy these ghastly “potions” (and they will so long as they believe such things are actually efficacious) there will be people crazy or desperate enough to commit murder.

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