Mutharika tells BBC he feels ashamed with ‘foolishness superstition’ in Malawi: Wants Churches to protect people with albinism

President Peter Mutharika has said he feels “ashamed” with superstitious notions about people with albinism that their bones can be used to get rich quick.

Mutharika: superstition have put the safety and lives of people with albinism at risk

Mutharika: Superstition have put the safety and lives of people with albinism at risk

BBC's Sophie Ikenya interviewing Malawi President Mutharika

BBC’s Sophie Ikenya interviewing Malawi President Mutharika

Speaking in an interview with BBC’s Sophie Ikenya in Mzuzu, Mutharika dismissed the superstitions which are perpetuated by witchdoctors who request and then use the parts of albinos as ingredients in certain rituals to bring both wealth. As a result, individuals with albinism have been abducted, dismembered and killed.

“The funny things is that the people who tell these people they will be rich they are poor themselves.  How can they make other people rich,” said Mutharika in the interview which video is posted on BBC online.

Mutharika said during the interview that the rituals are “foolishness superstition.”

Asked how he feels being a President which is hunting down on persons with albinism in connection with beliefs centred on traditional medicine, Mutharika bluntly said: “I feel ashamed.”

On imposing executions on people found guilty of killing albinos, the President said death penalty is already in the Penal Code to deal with murderers including killers of persons with albinism.

“We already have a death penalty for homicide. It’s already there, I don’t think it will be necessary to have another death penalty only for albinos,” said Mutharika.

Mutharika said the Church should do more to protect people with albinism, saying “there has been some kind of silence.”

During an audience with religious leaders in Mzuzu, the President urged the faith leaders to help tackle the issue.

He said: “God has chosen you in this generation to ensure the spiritual welfare of this nation. We expect you to teach and condemn problems of human trafficking [some of networks are actually hiding behind church work]; condemn corruption; theft; intolerance; and the killing of albinos.

“These and other devilish acts are committed by your flock! You have the duty to ensure that Malawi has the right moral character.”

In parliament, Chairperson of Defence and Security in the House Williet Karonga said Malawi should to learn from Tanzania how to crackdown on perpetrators.

Leader of the House George Chaponda said: “As of now there is no evidence that the bones of people with albinism are used for ritual riches, and government has instituted a task force whose aim is to look into the matter so that perpetrators are brought to book.”

According to Chaponda 18 people with albinism have so far been killed, 14 abducted, three are missing and 28 burial sites have been tampered.

Meanwhile, Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) intends to conduct research to determine factors behind the belief that organs of persons with albinism can bring wealth.

MHRC chairperson Justin Dzonzi said the research would help formulate specific, long-term interventions to address the abductions and killings of persons with albinism.

“It is obvious there is a syndicate and therefore, we need to find out who is sending people to get organs of persons with albinism and why people are willing to kill their fellow human beings,” Dzonzi is quoted by official Malawi News Agency speaking last Thursday during a stakeholders’ review meeting that the Malawi Network Against Trafficking (MNAT) organised at Sunbird Capital in Lilongwe.

Albinism is a genetically inherited condition that deprives the skin, hair, and eyes of melanin, making individuals vulnerable to the sun, bright light, and prone to skin cancer.

 

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8 thoughts on “Mutharika tells BBC he feels ashamed with ‘foolishness superstition’ in Malawi: Wants Churches to protect people with albinism”

  1. Akamuna says:

    Our leader does not take responsibility on anything. Not at all. “These and other devilish acts are committed by your flock” You say. But wait a minute, how dare you speak like that. In my innocence this issue is tagged to some government officials. Why is it refusing to die? Why is it that our intelligence system is failing to track down the perpetrators? Why? Now having arrested some of them; what are they really saying? Who hires them? Where is the market? Who is the end user? where and how? All these questions cannot be answered by the innocent men of God, but Government. You have a role to protect your citizens of which men of God are part of…..

  2. sayimoni bayisikolo says:

    Some are caught but we are not told that where do these people sell those albino bones.Someone must be in the know somewhere.The solution was to register all albinoes all over Malawi.The lives of our albino brothers and sisters is really in grave danger with the grinding poverty that has reached Malawi.Superstitous people thinks that they will make a killing with albino bones.its seems its only Pitala and his lomwe cronies who are enjoying the Public purse while leaving a common malawian in poverty.He seems not have any solutions for this country.This country is in a total mess with nutty professor of ours.

  3. Whatashame says:

    What kind of President is this one? He doesn’t own up to anything. He blames at least someone for anything that’s wrong. Why say that the churches are silent? What has he said himself that is substantial? He can send the police all over the world but that won’t bring the result. Albinos are all over the country. From Chitipa to Nsanje. So are the police, chiefs, traditional authorities ,village headmen etc what are they doing to stop this from happening in their regions or villages? Are they part of it? Why is it that a political message to the chiefs is handled swiftly and quickly but we seem to be moving at a slow pace on this one? Isn’t this a matter of a directive from the govt to the chiefs to hold meetings in villages and warn anyone doing or planning to kill albinos and have the police presence in the village meetings for good measure and emphasis? This doesn’t even need special International trips from the police. But alas Malawi..the land of the mediocre.. Kodi ma advisors onse aja ntchito yawo ndi chani?isn’t this one area they should have brainstormed a cost effective yet efficient way to stop the killings?

  4. alhomwe atilaula says:

    Amalawi tizikonda kuwerenga. in the recent Newspaper ya pa 18 May 2016 munali nkhani ya albino waku Cameroon, iye anakamba mwachimvekere kuti asing’anga amafuna zikhadabo, mafupa za maalbino zomwe amagwiritsa ntchito ndi anthu andale komanso ena amaphatikiza ndi nthaka kuti iziapatsa zolokola zokwanira. i think someone somewhere knows what is happening koma chonde amene zikukukhuzani mukhale ndi umunthu and put a stop to all this nonsense, simupita nazo patali zimenezi, God is watching you!

  5. Ngalamayi says:

    So easy to put the responsibility onto the churches’ shoulders! What successes have there been in tracking down these murderers?

  6. The Analyst says:

    O…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..O
    So in his professorial wisdom, APM assumes that this battle of albino hunting and killing, is spiritual as opposed to physical and therefore beyond his capability, hence the plea to the church for their intervention?
    . . . Apa APM zikuyenda bwinobwino?
    Yes, it is the Devil inspiring and doing all this, but who doesnt know that the Devil is a walking man? whom you can practically arrest and punish proportionately?
    …………………………………………………………………………
    And its a surprise that the professor of law admits we already have the death penalty in place . . .
    . . . but does anybody know why, despite 18 people with albinism being hacked to death; no one has ever been given the death sentence?; yet many have been caught?
    . . . shall we be looked askance at, if we begin to suspect?, that akuluakulu omwewa ndiomwe akupanga zimenezi?
    …………………………………………………………………………
    I know some men are born women, but I wish APM was born a man . . .
    . . . Otherwise, knowing we dont need a special law for albinos, yet not using the existing laws is absurd, to say the least.
    O…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………O

  7. Mndambala says:

    Zopusa basi!!! munali kuti nthawi yonseyi?
    ingoneni kuti akwana amene mumafuna basi!!!!
    God is watching you!!!!!!

  8. kkilembe says:

    Failed state. How can a whole govt abrogate responsibility of the security of its citizens to churches? Do churches have policing mechanisms? This blame game must stop. And POalimanet is just talking and talking. Akagwere

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