Malawi: People With Albinism Say President Mutharika Should Meet Them At Vigil

Photo: Amnesty
Albinism in Malawi.
25 February 2019

Association of People with Albinism (Apam) has said it is going ahead with its planned vigil at Kamuzu Palace the official residence of President Peter Mutharika in Lilongwe to force authorities to look into their security demands and has rejected two invitations to meet the Head of State before the the vigils slated fro March 6-8.

Apam president Overtone Kondowe said the association was asked through presidential aides Hetherwick Ntaba and Mabvuto Bamusi to meet President Mutharika for talks but said their membership want to meet the Malawi leader during the vigil so he can get their demands.

Kondowe said persons with albinism in the country are tired of government's insignificant efforts in fighting attacks on people with albinism, adding it is high time government addressed their security concerns.

"What I told them [Ntaba and Bamusi] is that we are already goiung to have vigils at State House from 6 to 8 March 2019. So, if he [the President] wants to meet us , he has to meet us that time," said Kondowe.

He said the President should meet their entire membershop of over 200 people with albinism that will storming State House for the vigils.

The vigil is scheduled to be preceded by a solidarity march from Lilongwe Community Centre ground through Parliament Building to Kamuzu Palace where they will present a petition to the President.

Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi has discouraged the association from holding the vigil, saying it will not yield anything and that it will "only complicate matters".

Dausi is on record to have said that the attacks on persons with albinism were yet to get to levels where they should hold vigils at State House or seek asylum in other countries.

Since November 2014, the number of reported crimes against people with albinism in Malawi has risen to 152 cases, including 25 murders and more than 10 people missing, according to Apam.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has said trails surrounding these deaths point to a number of conspiracy theories, all aimed at suffocating the end of justice in the fight against abductions and killing of persons with albinism.

A statement made available to Nyasa Times signed by HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo, said these deaths [of key suspects] smack of foul-play, adding, it is too tempting to conclude that there are powerful forces orchestrating them.

"Firstly, we strongly believe that these deaths are mafia-like planned and executed just to frustrate investigations that would lead us to alleged markets and lords behind these heinous crimes.

"Secondly, we at HRDC and indeed all well-meaning Malawians are tempted to think that those that we have entrusted with the responsibility of bringing the perpetrators of these inhumane acts are deliberately failing to do their job," reads the statement.

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