Malawi albinos want ‘mob-style-justice’

Persons with albinism in Malawi are in despair with what they call lack of state protection from attacks driven by the belief – advanced by some witchdoctors – that albinos’ body parts have properties that confer wealth and good luck, and now they are calling for formation of vigilante groups to hand out punishment to suspected perpetrators of attacks on people with albinism in the country.

Mary Jana (right) one of few patients who collect sunsecreen from Simbota (left) dspites reports of kidnappings and killings. Photo by Lameck Masina, VOA

Mary Jana (right) one of few patients who collect sunscreen cream from Simbota (left) despites reports of kidnappings and killings. Photo by Lameck Masina, VOA

Malawi has recorded at least 65 attacks on people with albinism, including murders, in over a year, the UN confirmed.

But persons with albinism accuse government of not doing enough in crackdown on the attacks hence calling for mob-style justice.

“Malawi government is not interested to stop killings of albinos.  All they are doing is time passing measures waiting for us to be finished,” said Ian Simbota, the national coordinator for the albino clinic at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.

Simbota told Capital Radio’s DayBreak Malawi programme that mob-style-justice will be the best way forward

He said mob justice though not correct or fair, but it is effective and efficient. Way to end albino killings.

Put to him that government has put measures amongst them  special prosecutor to pursue perpetrators of attacks on people with albinism in the country and that President Peter Mutharika has also formed a task force led by his aide Dr Hetherwick Ntaba, Simbota said “these are time passing measures.”

“Is Ntaba a police officer. Let President Mutharika [be tough] like Tanzania President John Pombe Magufuli on albino killers,” said Simbota, advancing eye for an eye action.

“Failure by this government  is already there. Let’s use mob justice,” Simbota stressed.

He said mob justice is the only way when justice systems have failed, saying if law enforcement officers would go the extra mile in fighting crime, then there would be no need for mob justice.

But Task Force chair, Ntaba said mob justice leads to serious violations of human rights, saying it denies the victims the opportunity to be taken through the due process of law and to be heard.

Ntaba said as government  they are taking measures  end the attacks.

“We need to identify the magnitude of the problem,” said Ntaba.

He said government has started registering all persons with albinism for their safety and security.

Their places of stay, names, and age are among the required information that government will need so that proper safety of their lives is guaranteed, according to Ntaba.

On Monday, President Peter Mutharika told BBC  Focus on Africa TV that he feels ashamed by the attacks on albinos in Malawi

Mutharika said that he had not rejected the idea of increasing prison sentences for people behind the attacks – but that he would not introduce a death penalty as it already exists for homicide in Malawi.

He added that he was sending officials to neighbouring Tanzania to learn how they had dealt with similar attacks.

Archbishop Tarcizius Ziyaye of Lilongwe Archdiocese of the Catholic Church recently condemned albino killers, saying perpetrators were committing an inhumane sin.

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4 thoughts on “Malawi albinos want ‘mob-style-justice’”

  1. chibisa says:

    Mr president, please I (we are )am tired of hearing about the measures you have put in place. Please be a man of action. Taking two years just to put measure!!! People need action not what you are saying. You have the authority. Learn from the views and comments from the media,

  2. Koula says:

    Iwe Analyst your writing is good with quotes it shows your expertise in journalism I truly applaud …Thank for your good comments

    1. The Analyst says:

      Am humbled!
      . . . Thanks, Koula.

  3. The Analyst says:

    O……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………O
    I, and other equally concerned readers have said this already,
    . . . the govt is not at all interested in ending these attacks and whatever APM has done so far, are just time-wasting strategies, gimmicks and showbiz.
    . . . You see . . .
    The issue of sending people abroad to learn how they contained the problem in their countries; is either a time-wasting gimmick or not a short-term strategy, thats needed now and desperately..
    . . . APM knows what Tanzania did to end these killings. If he doesnt know, why cant he spare 2 hours and read reports and get all the information he needs on the internet? Or why cant he make a phone-call to Tanzania and get all information? Presidents call each other, let’s not be stupid!
    . . . Truth is – he just wants to waste time sending people abroad, and be seen to be doing something when he is not.
    Also the issue of establishing committees is simply a showbiz by APM – deep inside, he knows the committees are useless. Just wants to pass away time. Koma mukulakwa a APM.
    ……………………………………………………………………………..
    I spit on Kamuzu’s grave, sometimes . . .
    . . . With his iron fist, Kamuzu anatilakwira a Malawi fe kwambiri. With his cornerstones or whatever he called them; he made Malawians kukhala anthu a ulemu osayenera (for their leaders). Ulemu osasiyana ndi kupusa.
    . . . Otherwise, the Albino Association of Malawi could have taken one message to APM on the day they had an audience with him. “HANG ALL ALBINO HUNTERS.”
    . . . This is exactly what their counterparts did in Tanzania, and the onus was left on the president to act. And he (Kikwete) acted, and all madness ended when the killers were being executed.
    ………………………………………………………………………………
    But it’s not too late. Meet him again. And if APM fails act on your desperate request; we would know . . .
    . . . he is the one behind all these killings; OR
    . . . he is protecting someone or is in support of people involved in these killings; OR
    . . . he is just not interested in ending these killings.
    “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor . . . ” – Desmond Tutu

    Otherwise, though the proposed mob justice is equally effective if the hunter is hunted and caught; issues of capacity and coordination may pose challenges.
    O…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….O

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