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Fr. Muhosha, found guilty of playing a role in the murder of an albino man in MalawiZomba Diocese/Facebook

BLANTYRE, Malawi (LifeSiteNews) – On Monday June 27, 2022, the High Court of Malawi, presided over by Judge Dorothy Nyakaunda Kamanga, condemned a Catholic priest to 30 years in prison for participating in the brutal murder of a 22 year-old man with albinism in 2018.

Father Thomas Muhosha was condemned for his role in the murder of MacDonald Masambuka, along with four other perpetrators who also received a sentence of 30 years. Five others were given life sentences.

As LifeSite has previously reported, Judge Nyakaunda convicted Fr. Muhosha and eleven others of the murder of Masambuka in April 2022. Fr. Muhosha was one of seven suspects found to be guilty of selling Masambuka’s body parts, while the other five suspects were found guilty of actually committing the murder, including Masambuka’s brother – Cassim White Masambuka.

“The offense was motivated by the disability of the deceased, that of albinism,” said the judge, as reported by Africa News.

Fr. Muhosha, who had served as priest of Machinga Parish, located 100 kilometers northeast of the capital city of Blantyre, was warned by Judge Kamanga that he had betrayed the trust that many people had placed in him.

MacDonald went missing in February of 2018 and was discovered dead a month later, with his arms and legs missing. The court determined that the deceased was brutally murdered in a cemetery, after being duped by his brother Cassim Masambuka.

According to the judge, the convicts took advantage of the deceased’s psychological need for love, duping him into believing that they had found him a prospective wife for him to meet. According to court documents, upon arrival at the scene, Masambuka was seized by his friends, murdered, before his body was burned with petrol and then buried.

Mr. William Masapi, a representative of people with albinism in Malawi, was very satisfied by the ruling. “We are also human beings,” he said.

“We need to enjoy life; we have responsibilities in this country,” Masapi continued. “Some of us work in government and contribute to its development. People should learn from today that we are similar to them.”

Mr. Boniface Kibwana, the National Coordinator for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Malawi, was also pleased with the ruling, saying that it had created “momentum as far as sensitization is concerned,” which would help “put to a stop issues of killing and abductions of people with albinism in Malawi.”

Archbishop George Desmond Tambala, the bishop of Zomba Diocese, strongly condemned the actions of his priest in a statement issued on April 17, 2018. According to the Voice of Africa report, Fr. Muhosha is now in the process of being excommunicated.

Attacks on people with albinism are a persistent problem in Malawi, Tanzania and other southern African countries. Malawi has the highest population of people who lack pigment in their skin, hair, and eyes so as a result, many Africans have trafficked them in the hopes of acquiring wealth, magical potions, and other items for ritual purposes.

A now archived 2009 report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reported senior police officers in Tanzania suggesting that “a complete set of albino body parts – including all four limbs, genitals, ears, tongue and nose – was fetching the equivalent of 75,000 US dollars.”

According to a 2021 Amnesty International report, the number of reported crimes against albinos in Malawi has increased to over 170 cases, including more than 20 murders, since 2014.