The nation has of recent been experiencing indecent, criminal and barbaric acts, even murder, of people with albinism. A number of cases have been reported of people found in possession of flesh human body parts. Others have been caught in grave yards exhuming bodies of people who had albinism with intent to sell their bones to alleged ritualists.
A voter in Malawi previous elections
While this is purely a criminal act, in this edition today we want to explore its bearing on the 2019 elections more especially among those who wish to contests as candidates.
For one to contest as President, Member of Parliament and as a Ward Councillor, he is required to be citizen who is a registered voter and should be able to read and speak the English language well enough as to participate effectively in deliberations. The aspiring candidate is also required to be of age on the nomination day (35 years for presidency and 21 for MPs and councilors).
However, notwithstanding the above conditions, a person cannot be allowed to contest for any of the three positions if he has, within the last seven years, been convicted by a competent court of a crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude.
There are many definitions that we can use for the discussion and understanding on the nature of the crime of moral turpitude.
In this column we quote one of the earliest definitions by the Blacks Law Dictionary: “act of baseness, vileness, or the depravity in private and social duties which man owes to his fellow man, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and man.
“Act or behavior that gravely violates moral sentiment or accepted moral standards of community and is a morally culpable quality held to be present in some criminal offences as distinguished from others.
“The quality of a crime involving grave infringement of the moral sentiments of the community as opposed to statutory mala prohibita”.
The above definition was also quoted by the High Court in the case of John Tembo vs Attorney General in 2003 to define moral turpitude.
Other definitions of moral turpitude include intentional, knowing or reckless conduct causing bodily injury to another or intentional, knowing or reckless conduct which, by physical menace, puts another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
The loose definition so far has been where the term moral turpitude was considered as encompassing everything which is done contrary to justice, honesty, or good morals.
In jurisdictions where case law is well developed, cases of abduction with consent, bigamy, smuggling, rape, falsification of a document, attempted bribery, profiteering, robbery, murder, whether consummated or attempted, theft, illicit sexual relations with a fellow worker, engaging in dangerous drugs, perjury, forgery, homicide among many have been classified as cases involving moral turpitude.
There are persons around who have not been allowed to contest in elections because of previous convictions on cases of corruption which has been classified as bordering on moral turpitude and dishonesty.
Using the definitions above, those convicted of possessing bones, abducting or killing people with albinos or being part of the conspiracy, will be caught in the law. It is morally unacceptable to exhume dead bodies with intent to sell the bodies or conspiring to sell a person. So if you want to stand in 2019 as a councillor, Member of Parliament or President stay away from engaging in such crimes
. Stop Killing, torturing, abducting people with albinism. Stop the exhumations. These crimes gravely infringe the moral sentiment of the community.