Disability organisations in the country have asked President Peter Mutharika to urgently institute a commission of inquiry to probe attacks and ruthless killings of people with albinism.
The organisations, under the umbrella of Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (Fedoma) and the Disability Rights Clinic of Faculty of Law at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, made the call yesterday during a press briefing in Blantyre following the murder on New Year’s eve of 54-year-old Yasin Kwenda Phiri in Nkhata Bay.
Fedoma executive director Action Amos said the NGOs want the commission to investigate the truth about assumed markets for the targeted body parts of people with albinism, driving factors influencing people to engage in the malpractice, people’s awareness levels on the issue and delays by the justice system to conclude cases involving the victims.
He said: “There is thus lack of information surrounding the issue that would be addressed by targeted further investigation that would be served by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry, in line with Section 89(1)(g) of the Constitution.”
They further proposed that the Judiciary, Fedoma, traditional healers, chiefs, police, Association of Persons with Albinism (Apam), Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) and Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, among others, should form the commission.
The NGOs also asked government to regulate the conduct of traditional healers who, they alleged, are often seen with charms that also include human body parts.
On his part, Disability Rights Clinic supervisor Enoch Chilemba said the organisations believe the commission will unveil answers to questions Malawians have on why government is failing to decisively act on the attacks and killings as well as on delays by the courts to conclude cases involving killings of people with albinism.
Presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani did not pick up his phone yesterday when contacted on the matter.
Meanwhile, the Malawi Law Society (MLS) has also asked government to take decisive action and deal with the issue once and for all this year. n