A group of non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders against the killing, abduction and exhumation of graveyards of people with albinism will today petition Parliament praying for strong laws to put an end to the atrocities facing albinos.
The group, calling itself Stakeholders Action Group against the killings of people with albinism, has indicated that, among other issues, they want the perpetrators of the acts to be given capital punishment which, according to the Constitution, is death penalty.
Briefing journalists in Lilongwe on Monday, chairperson of the group, Edward Chileka-Banda, said capital punishment would deter would be offenders.
He said the way Malawi handles with this issue will be an indicator on whether the country is determined to decisively deal with the many problems it is faced with at the moment.
Said Chileka-Banda: “Death penalty is already in our Constitution and all we are saying is that government must now implement it on perpetrators of these ills against people with albinism. Malawi is fighting many battles at the moment and the way we are going to fight this battle is going to be an indicator as to whether we are prepared to decisively fight and win the battles.”
The petition will be one of many that have been lined up during the action week in the battle against the killings of people with albinism running from May 23 to 27.
Tomorrow, the group is expected to deliver another petition to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) and other government offices nationwide. On Thursday, another petition will be presented to Inspector General of Police while on Friday, a petition will be delivered to the Chief Justice.
Another member of the group, Boniface Massa, said another loophole in the fight is the Witchcraft Act which does not recognise witchcraft in the country yet reports surrounding the killings of people with albinism clearly indicate that the incidents are connected to witchcraft beliefs.
Massa, who is president of Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (Apam), called for review of the Act so that it is in tandem with the latest developments in the country and also that by so doing perpetrators of such acts can be penalised accordingly.
He also said government needs to equip the country’s police officers with investigative skills that can unearth the truth about the killings and effectively end the malpractice.
Malawi has registered 17 murders and more than 65 cases of albino abductions. n