The proposed K1.5 trillion 2018/19 National Budget has no funding for the welfare of people with albinism, The Nation has established.
Parliamentary Committee on Social Welfare chairperson Richard Chimwendo-Banda has since said the committee will meet the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare on Monday to discuss the issue.
In an interview yesterday, he said the committee will ask the ministry why the budget presented by Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe last week in Parliament has not considered affairs of persons with albinism.
Said Chimwendo-Banda: “We are going to take them to task until they allocate something for programmes on persons with albinism; otherwise, we will reject their vote when Parliament starts debating the budget.”
In a separate interview, Association of Persons with Albinism (Apam) national coordinator Boniface Massa said he is worried that government has not shown interest in promoting rights of persons with albinism by sidelining their programmes in the budget.
“What we see now is mere talk without any commitment from government. We expected at least a budget for interventions on attacks on persons with albinism, but there is literally nothing,” said Massa.
He said his major concern is that the matter has come at a time the nation is moving towards general elections, a period when attacks on persons with albinism worsens.
Asked to comment on the matter, Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) executive director Gift Trapence described the omission as regrettable.
Massa said Apam is also concerned by the slow pace at which cases involving attacks on persons with albinism are moving in the courts.
He said since 2013 when the attacks came in the limelight, 147 cases have gone through police files but only 45 have been completed, representing 30 percent and that there are about five murder cases that are yet to go to court.
Massa also said Apam is saddened with a report by Machinga East MP Esther Jolobala of missing files of cases of attacks on persons with albinism. He said government needs to investigate since those who were handling the files are known.