Work hours in the district have decreased tremendously as parents take the hands-on responsibility of keeping an eye on their children, including taking and picking them from school.
Speaking here yesterday at a prayer held at the Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG) Milinze church which was organised to pray for the district so that the killings come to an end, the DC said parents in the district no longer allow their children to move alone freely as before.
Before the onset of the killings blamed on superstitious beliefs, safety and security of children were entrusted on house helps and relatives who took, walked them to schools and picked them at the end of classes. But things are not the same anymore, said Msafiri who lamented that if the scourge is not brought to an end, Njombe district—and Njombe region by extension—may end up lagging behind in development.
“We cannot realize our aspiration to become an industrial economy if parents take charge of safety and security of children –including taking and picking them from school—instead of working, said Msafiri.
Njombe is one of the districts with the high per capita income in the country but the DC raised concern that if economic activities decline noticeably as is the case, things can change for the worse.
So far, more than 10 children have been brutally killed in the district. One child who escaped the abductors with a partially-slit throat died at the weekend while receiving treatment at Mbeya Referral Hospital.
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa told Parliament on Saturday that 29 people had been arrested in connection with the killings.
Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai last Monday directed the government to present to the House a detailed report on the killings of children and measures taken to rectify the situation.
Those arrested so far include prominent businessmen in Njombe and Makambako towns. A popular explanation is that some witchdoctors in the region tell people that human body parts have special properties that can bring them wealth and luck.
The children were reportedly taken from their homes at night when their parents were selling food at a market. Tanzania has in the recent years been trying to end killing of vulnerable groups for same motives, most common being brutal attacks on people with albinism for their body parts.