President Peter Mutharika on Wednesday said government has intensified surveillance and investigations in the districts where cases of abductions and killings of people with albinism have been reported.
The President, in a national address in the wake of the beheading of a nine-year-old boy with albinism in Moto Village in Machinga District on February 26 this year, has since encouraged the Judiciary to issue stiffer sentences to the people involved in such malpractices.
Mutharika, in a statement broadcast on taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) television and radio last evening whose copy State House Press Office provided The Nation, also said government has intensified its working relationship with the Association of Persons with Albinism (Apam).
“The malpractice has brought fear, breakdown of communal life and sense of insecurity among persons with albinism, relatives and friends. Let me assure you that government is taking serious steps against this criminal behaviour. And we will overcome this,” he said.
Apam has reported over 50 cases of attacks against persons with albinism, which have resulted into deaths, abductions for the purposes of body parts removal and exhumation of their bodies.
The country’s albino population, at the beginning of this month soon after the Machinga incident, appealed to government and the international community to quickly implement an action plan to end the attacks on people with albinism.
Apam president Boniface Massa is on record as having said it is unfortunate that despite all the resources invested in training the Judiciary and police in handling such cases, little was being done to mete out stiffer punishments to convicts.
Until February 2015, the brutality against people living with albinism was stuff of news from Tanzania, where witchdoctors stand banned for promoting good-luck rituals that have led to 100 deaths since 2000. n