It is a shame what we Malawians expend our energies on sometimes. If it is not sleeping in Parliament as the President is delivering a list of achievements or as the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development unveils the national kitty, we are arresting people for chatting on social networks, such as, WhatsApp.
But when hit with catastrophe like an innocent person being harvested of his limbs, we express our sadness, delete the gruesome pictures from our phones, discuss a sleeping member of Parliament over a beer and move on with our lives while a young girl whose only crime was being born with a different skin pigment fears going to school.
Our leader went as far as expressing his sadness to the world through the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). He felt terrible, he said. He felt ashamed to be a leader of Malawi. So you should be, Your Excellency. You should be spending sleepless nights tormented by the picture of an innocent father, brother and husband whose limbs were cut off as he went gardening to escape the hunger biting this country.
In a country with high illiteracy rates like Malawi, are we really surprised that a normal thinking human being believes bones of a person who bleeds and eats the same nsima can make him rich?
But what are we doing while these innocent Malawians are being killed? We are being reactive instead of being proactive. The people who are supposed to protect every Malawian regardless of skin pigmentation are waiting to pounce on the next killer, the next person who digs up bones, the next person who believes that cutting down a fellow human being into pieces will confer him luck and untold wealth.
We should be putting as much effort to protecting people with albinism as we do when there is a cholera or measles outbreak. We should be reacting to such barbaric killing as we do when a university student dares criticise the wise and dynamic leadership of His Excellency: swiftly and mercilessly.
As these shameful acts are occurring in the rural areas, the whole country should come to a standstill. Maximum effort should go towards protecting people with albinism and the hunter should become the hunted.
What can it take really to protect an estimated 10 000 people with albinism in a country of 17 million?
We are always quick to tout political will in policies that do little to change people’s lives. But where is the political will in protecting your own people, your voters, Your Excellency?
“We are doing all we can” does not cut it when lives are at stake. Establishing a technical team to send to Tanzania to learn how the country eliminated the barbaric hunt for people with albinism will be too little, too late. Feeling terrible that the next victim might be an innocent six-year old girl walking from school should move you to act with haste. What have you done to protect that child’s life apart from rhetoric?
By the time the so-called technical team issues a report for the president’s office, the population of albinos in this country will be decimated at this slow pace of proactiveness.