The Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) wants President Peter Mutharika to declare Malawi a dangerous place for persons with albinism and facilitate their asylum in other countries.
Speaking during a press conference the World Vision Malawi held in Lilongwe on Friday, Apam president Overstone Kondowe said asylum will be the last resort after their planned vigils at State residences in Lilongwe and Blantyre yield nothing.
“After all efforts have failed and government machinery has proved ineffective, we are going to hold vigils and if nothing comes out from that, we will have no choice, but to ask to seek asylum in other countries,” said Kondowe.
However, in an interview, Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi said there was little government can say at the moment on issues of persons with albinism.
“Since the murder of Yasin Phiri in Nkhata Bay, people have said a lot of things about government’s capability in offering protection to its citizens. We know that all this is fuelled by grief so, we will wait for everyone to sober up first, then we will come up with our stand,” he said.
Human rights defender Gift Trapence agreed with Kondowe that government has not shown any tangible action towards protecting persons with albinism apart from podium promises.
Trapence and Kondowe shared the view that government fooled Malawians when it formed the national technical committee on issues of albinism, but never funded its operations.
They also observe that the same government failed to provide resources for the National Action Plan on persons with albinism which was launched on June 23 2018 in Karonga.
“That committee, which was duly formed by the State President, has never acted or issued any statement in line with its functions despite all the attacks and killings of persons with albinism that have occurred in the country,” said Kondowe.
World Vision Malawi associate director for advocacy, communications and justice for children Charles Gwengwe asked all stakeholders to gang up and take political leaders to task over issues of persons with albinism as 2019 polls draw closer.
“We call upon the civil cociety, NGOs, journalists and politicians to make the safety of people with albinism a political agenda for all presidential aspirants, so that we can measure and hold them accountable,” he said.
On January 1 2019, Malawians woke up to the gruesome
murder of Yasin Phiri in his house in Nkhata Bay in full view of his son.
Three weeks later, 18-month-old Eunice Nkhonjera, a girl with albinism was abducted in Karonga and her whereabouts are not known to date.
Out of 165 cases related to people with albinism reported since 2014, only 61 cases have been finalised according to a World Vision Malawi statement issued on Friday. n