The Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) has again rejected calls for dialogue from President Peter Mutharika, urging the President to address the concerns they have been raising with him instead.
Apam’s reaction yesterday followed communication from Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Lloyd Muhara yesterday inviting the grouping and other stakeholders to a dialogue meeting with Mutharika this Thursday.
But presidential adviser on Non-governmental Organisations Mavuto Bamusi said he was optimistic Apam would reconsider its position and attend the dialogue meeting.
Last week, Apam turned down two invitations to meet Mutharika at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe before their planned protest vigils slated for March 6 to 8 at the State House. The association insisted that the President should instead meet its membership at the vigils.
In the latest attempt, Muhara issued a public statement inviting Apam and other stakeholders working towards ending challenges facing persons with albinism to a dialogue meeting with Mutharika.
The meeting is scheduled for 10am tomorrow at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.
But Apam president Overstone Kondowe, in a statement responding to the fresh invitation, said the President knows their case as they have written his office several times.
Reads the Apam statement: “Specifically, we demand the immediate implementation of the National Action Plan which sets out clear parameters on how the myriad challenges must be addressed. Government is on record to have committed K3 billion.
“As Apam, this is the central focus of our core demands. It is our view that this does not necessitate another forum as our demands are an open secret.”
Kondowe also said they expect government to seriously consider immediate institution of ad hoc courts to fast track conclusion of cases regarding attacks on persons with albinism.
Bamusi said the issues raised in Apam letters require a dialogue forum with the President and government officials to find lasting solutions and make concrete commitments.
He said: “I hope the leadership of Apam will come back to its senses and realise that this dialogue is very important. The issues raised like funding for Action Plan requires that the leadership of the country and Apam sit down.
“I am very hopeful that the meeting will take place because it is a great opportunity. Answers can only come through a constructive dialogue.”
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has written the Police Service Commission to act on police officers that were on duty during the mysterious death of Buleya Lule, a suspect in the abduction of 14 year old Goodson Makanjira.
Malawi is experiencing a resurgence of attacks against persons with albinism, with two fatalities and three abductions since 31 December 2018. Two of those who were abducted were later rescued by community members, one remains missing.
Since November 2014, the number of reported crimes against people with albinism in Malawi has risen to 152 cases, including 25 murders and more than 10 people missing, according to Apam.