People with albinism in the country are over the moon following a landmark judgement in Mzuzu where a 33 year old man has been sent to serve a life sentence without parole for attempting to kill an 11 year boy of the condition.
An official from the Association of People with Albinism Overton Kondowe described the judgement as landmark.
“This is very important development. This is what we were asking for, this is what we included in the petition we presented to parliament,” said Kondowe.
High Court Judge in Mzuzu, Dingiswayo Madise handed down the judgment to Samson Kaumba who had attempted to kill Morton Juma in a ritual killing in senseless belief that the body parts of a person with albinism brings lucky and wealth.
“Today I have that worst offender before me,” said judge Madise as he rebuked the convict and his unknown accomplices for setting out to kill Morton like a chicken or goat.
Madise dismissed the calls for a lesser sentence prayed in mitigation by the convict’s lawyer Chimwemwe Chithope who described the convict as a first offender, youthful, sickly and deserving of mercy, saying the offence was “a mere attempt”.
Meanwhile, Kondowe has since asked other judges and magistrates to emulate the example of Judge Madise, saying the judgment was a deterrent to would be offenders.
“Next, we want the police to speed up investigations of all abductions and killing of people with albinism so that the cases do not delay. We want the state to review all previous cases and make retrials so that stiff penalties such as this one are meted out,” he said.
President of the Association of Persons with Albinsm Boniface Massa paid tribute to Judge Madise, saying he had set above the bar of sentences of people with albinism abductors and killers.
“This judgment sends a clear message that we are not chickens,” he said.
Massa said such judgments will bring back normal life to people with albinism whom, he said stopped going to school, going to work and doing other day to day jobs in fear of being murdered.
Senior chief state advocate Dzikondianthu Malunda also embraced the sentence meted out on Kaumba as a cause for celebration in the crackdown on the killings of vurnerable people.
“Justice has won,” Malunda told reporters outside the court.
Justice Madise’s ruling marks the conclusion of a case in which Kaumba and Fiskani Mtambo stood accused of coaxing Morton Juma, 11, into a bush where they hacked him on the neck and left biceps in a shocking episode of the infamous killings in September last year.
The court has however acquitted Mtambo because prosecutors did not prove his involvement beyond reasonable doubt.
Presidential stern warning
President Peter Mutharika has since declared war against albino “terrorists”, claiming that his administration will win the war against them.
While making his address on International Albinism Awareness Day, Mutharika said that perpetrators of crimes against albino nationals would face the full might of the law.
“People elsewhere are taking us as fools, they think we are ignorant, this is embarrassing… it is sinful,” he said.
Fuelled by a belief that albino body parts brought wealth, attacks on albinos have increased in recent times, leading to the deaths of at least 17 albino nationals in the last two years.
Mutharika has since slammed the belief among some Malawian residents, describing the superstition as foolish and ignorant.
“The people who are telling people that it makes people rich are not even rich. They are wearing rags. How can a person like this make your rich if he himself cannot make himself rich?” he said, adding in vernacular: “Ndi usilu umeneweo, kwathu munthu ameneyo timati ndi chitsulu chokumwa madzi ometela ndebvu, chitsilu chenicheni “.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :