The resurgence of horrible attacks on people with albinism is shocking. At the start of this year, we thought that these barbaric acts were over.
That was until we learnt that two brothers in Chikwawa were attacked on March 3.
The fresh attacks show that efforts to crack down on these gruesome acts are not fruitful.
The stiff jail sentence Judge Dingiswayo Madise meted out to Samson Kaumba, who attempted to kill a boy with albinism in Karonga is failing to deter would-be offenders.
Not even the semi-naked parade led by parliamentarian Bon Kalindo and civil rights demonstrations.
This month, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu released a ministerial statement on human rights in Malawi in which he highlighted government’s efforts in combating the acts.
He cited establishment of a technical committee by President Peter Mutharika, amendment of laws prescribing stiffer punishment and development of a handbook that guides investigations and prosecution of offences affecting persons with albinism.
These efforts are quite commendable.
United Nations (UN) country representative Mia Seppo urges all stakeholders to redouble their efforts to stop the attacks.
However, there is a need to cast the net wider to track down the buyers of human parts extracted from people with albinism.
The buyers could be the grandmasters fuelling these inhumane attacks.
We do not need economists to lecture us that no trade can thrive or flourish where there is no demand. It is a simple undisputable fact.
Considering the gravity of the crimes, it is only those who are promised huge sums of money that can risk their lives by indulging in these malpractices.
Mob justice or jailing the perpetrators is merely treating symptoms of malaria, leaving out the diseases.
The patient may feel relieved for a day or two, but the pain will resurface a few days later.
As I write, news has it that two people have been arrested in connection with these brutal attacks on people with albinism.
One of the perpetrators was arrested by community members as he and his friends allegedly attempted to attack former president of Association of People with albinism, Gilbert Daire, at his home in Lilongwe.
The other was arrested at Chintheche, Nkhata Bay, after he and his accomplices attacked a girl last week.
Security agencies need to thoroughly investigate the suspects to appreciate the trade in human parts, especially where they sell body parts of our brethren.
Those arrested should be part of this illegal trade. Amateurs tend to be fearful.
The perpetrators that are resurfacing now could be the ones who were successful in their previous phase.
It is only when you squeeze the sponge firmly that it lets out the water trapped inside.
Squeeze the suspects until they give necessary clues.
Suppose government does not have the capacity to investigate these atrocities, it may consider seeking help of foreign investigators.
We can send an SOS the same way government wants to hire foreign agencies to investigate the murder of university student Robert Chasowa and Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) senior official Issa Njauju.
If we root out those demanding the body parts of people with albinism, there will be no suppliers and these inhumane attacks will die a natural death. n