The Witch Doctors


Roja Heydarpour brings us the latest on plight of albinos in Tanzania. Albinos have been killed and maimed because of the ludicrous belief that albino body parts hold magical powers 0 a story the Dish has mentioned in the past. The current state of affairs:

Politicians who want to win elections wear large rings with albino powder hidden inside, she said. High-powered CEOs buy the potion in order to make more money. And the police are in on it, too.

The Tanzanian government finally banned the practice nearly two years ago, in part due to [journalist Vicky] Ntetema’s stories. They were embarrassed by their country’s now-tarnished image. But the ban was revoked last month, conveniently close to the general elections on Oct. 31, said Ntetema.

The witch doctors wield enormous power in a country where more than 90 percent believe and are afraid of being bewitched, she said. So even if a politician running for office does not buy the potion, the witch doctor threatens to tell his community to withhold its votes.

A couple months back Graeme Wood filed an excellent report on the continued widespread belief in witchcraft in parts of Africa.

(Image by Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images)