Member of Parliament for Mulanje South Bon Kalindo on Friday caused a stir in the House in Lilongwe, when he suggested that people living with albinism be given their own, well-guarded villages, to foil ritual killers targeting them.
He was reacting to a ministerial statement by Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Cecilia Chazama on the status of cases handled by the Malawi Police Service (MPS) related to attacks on persons living with albinism.
The statement attracted many questions and comments from the legislators.
Kalindo said his suggestion for safe albino villages stemmed from what he saw, during a recent visit to Mongolia, in China, where those ostracised for their skin pigmentation problems live in special villages.
Jeering and laughter erupted even before Kalindo completed speaking. Apparently, most legislators seemed stunned by the idea, which others thought smacked of over-protection.
Although Kalindo—who is a stage actor of note—was at the receiving end of a dismissive audience— he had solace in Speaker Richard Msowoya, who threatened to ‘kick out’ anyone drowning out the then rightful floor-holder—Kalindo.
The noise increased much after Kalindo apparently hit back at the mostly government MPs who were jeering him by digging in that the next government may be that of current Vice-President Saulos Chilima.
The remark, highlighting the MP’s outspoken support for Chilima in a movement that wants Chilima to stand for the presidency in next year’s tripartite general elections, was met with more jeering.
Responding to Kalindo’s suggestion, Chazama said it was improper to isolate any group of people, even if it were for security reasons.
She received a loud ‘No’ from the members when she asked a rhetoric question on whether they would allow that albinos be taken away from their areas to ‘safe’ villages.
The minister said the government has embarked on six strategies to ensure greater safety for people living with albinism while they enjoy their normal interactions with their community members.