People who took part or witnessed the “naked” demonstration to push for tangible action to protect people with albinism yesterday, said they joined in the march because it was for a good cause.
Hundreds of learners from Chimutu Full Primary School and Chimutu Community Day Secondary School (CDSS), accompanied by their teachers, suspended their morning lessons to render their support to calls by Mulanje South member of Parliament (MP) Bon Kalindo (Democratic Progressive Party-DPP) for a decisive action against people perpertrating crimes against people with albinism.
The pupils formed a barricade across the Presidential Drive from Area 18 Roundabout to Capital Hotel Roundabout, forcing motorists to give way to the demonstrators.
The protesting learners carried tree branches in their hands, and sang all the way to Parliament Building.
They sang: “Zivute zitani ife ana Amalawi, tili pambuyo pa Winiko/Alubino.”
A female pupil, who did not want to be named, said she took part in the demonstration to send across her indignation towards the persecution of innocent people based on their skin pigment.
She said: “If police had allowed us, I was ready to demonstrate naked. Probably, that is the best way to drive home the message to our leaders. Otherwise, how do they choose to keep quiet while people are being butchered like animals?”
At one point, an unidentified tearful woman let out her anger and motherly feelings when she declared: “Zimatiwawa kuti anthu omwe akutiphera ana athu akutchinjirizidwa ndi mabungwe ndi boma. Death penalty must be implemented now to stop this injustice!”
Motorists alighted from their vehicles and some of them captured the moments on their smartphones. They waved in honour and solidarity of demonstrators.
“We’re behind you. Keep it up!” said one motorist.
Freelance photographer Ras Peter Kansengwa, who spent the better part of the demonstration dancing and singing with the pupils, described the demonstration as justified and timely.
He condemned the silence by authorities on calls for the enforcement of the death penalty as sending wrong signals to the public.
“Their silence is sending wrong signals as it would be construed to mean they are in support of the persecutions targeting persons with albinism. I hail Hon Kalindo for organising this protest so that we can tell leaders of our disappointment,” he said.
However, last week High Court Judge Dingiswayo Madise offered a ray of hope to the calls for stiffer sentences when he handed a convict a life sentence for attempting to murder an 11-year old boy with albisnim in Karonga. n