The country’s albino population is living in fear of attacks from human body parts sellers while government is not doing enough to save their plight, representatives of the community have said.
The albinos’ representatives have further appealed to the government and the international community to quickly implement an action plan to end the attacks on people with albinism following re-emergence of attacks for body parts. The latest case was the beheading of a boy in Machinga District.
Speaking at a news conference in Lilongwe on Friday, Albino Association of Malawi president Boniface Massa said it was disheartening to learn that despite assurances of protection from the State and waves of condemnation of the attacks on albinos, the attacks continue.
He questioned government’s failure to provide special funds to support emergency measures to tackle the problem.
Said Massa: “What we have seen is that there is no dedication to end this. Cases are stalling in the courts and the political will that was there seems to have gone. Government, through the Judiciary, should start giving stiffer punishments.”
He said as a result of attacks, most students with albinism have stopped going to school and adults who are in business can no longer move out of their homes alone during certain hours.
In a statement released by the association, the group has further asked for regional effort to curb parts, which fuels the attacks and also a review of the laws on witchcraft. the trade in human body
Last year, President Peter Mutharika made a special address to the nation and condemned attacks on albinos.
But, Overson Kondowe, a Lilongwe resident with albinism, narrated to The Nation how fear has gripped the community’s members as the sanctity of human life was at stake.
“Every day, I have a lot of fear. We have restricted our working hours. We even fear friends as it is even in the name of friendship that children or adults are being coerced by abductors,” he said.
Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati was on Saturday quoted by Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) as having said government was working on ending the attacks.
She vowed that government will bring the culprits to book, saying government was working with other stakeholders to review the relevant laws to ensure the safety of the citizens.
But Kaliati dismissed suggestions of safe zones for albinos as something that can promote stigma and discrimination at a time government was seeking equality.
On February 26 2016, an unidentified men broke into a house in Mpakati Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Nkoola in Machinga and abducted a nine-year-old-boy, Harry Mokoshoni, injuring his mother in the process.
The head of the boy was found five days later in Chikweo, about 20 kilometres away, but the body is still missing.