A crisis of disturbing proportions: If you swallow a live frog in the morning, you are not supposed to encounter anything more disgusting for the rest of the day. This may be true anywhere in the world, but not in Malawi.
Malawians have over the years done and condoned a lot of nauseating behaviours, beliefs, and practices of all manner. Since “kamba amanyera yemwe wamutola”, the outcomes are dire poverty, social injustice and bleak prospects.
Just when I thought that we had done it all, the tacit tolerance – at official, societal and individual levels – of abductions, disappearances, and cold blooded murders of albinos, constitute an all-time low with respect to the depths we have sunk.
Malawi’s estimated 10,000 albinos, in case you were not aware, are facing “extinction”. They are, as we speak, being slaughtered for their body parts for use in witchcraft.
A UN expert, Ikponwosa Ero said that the situation “constitutes an emergency, a crisis disturbing in its proportions”. In my view, “disturbing” does not do justice to this national disgrace; a crisis that is nauseating in its proportions is closer to the mark.
Netting small fish as usual:
So far, all Malawi has managed is to slap a 17-year jail term on a couple of hoodlums for murdering a 21-year-old woman with albinism.
Yet, according to Ms Ero, Malawi police have recorded 65 attacks, abductions and murders of albinos since the end of 2014. These statistics can only mean one thing: the two serving sentences are just the tip of the iceberg.
The truth can only set you free if….
Albinos are reportedly viewed as a shortcut to riches based on the ridiculous belief that their body parts “increase wealth, make businesses prosper or facilitate employment.” And hence, killing and selling of body parts of persons with albinism is now a highway out of poverty.
Nothing could be more wrong, evil and patently absurd.
Let us ponder for a while. On the individual level, there are three elements at play. First, is the laziness we have become accustomed to. Second is the fact that we are just too naïve. Third is greed.
An old quote says that before the truth can set you free, you need to recognize which false belief is holding you hostage. This is where the root of our problem lies.
When on social media, you see supposedly “educated” people, or active Church or Mosque goers and who should have no excuse for their gullibility, busy believing that one can strike gold by “liking”, “sharing” and/or typing a righteous proclamation to a Facebook post!
This sort of gullibility, which should be easily resolved by actually reading and understanding the Bible or the Quran; is amongst the reasons con men are getting bolder in their quest.
And after “liking”, “sharing” and typing “so let it be” to countless Facebook posts, only to wake up the next day as poor as a church mice, what do we do?
Left with no tree left to hold on to or in the vernacular “posowa mtengo ogwira”, we are now abandoning all pretences of being a God-fearing people; turning to Witch Doctors who, just like the Facebook Con-men, are banking on the very same laziness, greed and gullibility to mislead us into killing fellow human beings for body parts.
This is more than sad. In the least, we should be ashamed of ourselves. We can and should do better.
But before the truth can free us, our “truth” be it the Bible or the Quran, we need to recognize and renounce the false beliefs holding us hostage.
Once upon a time:
Before I move to the other side of the equation, i.e. the complicity of the Government and its security organs, let me tell you a story I heard from a friend.
A chap used to work for a reputable company in Blantyre and was not doing too badly at all. He could afford a beer, was living in a decent house, and had a dotting, lovely wife and kids.
One day, at a pub, he saw this guy buying Carlsberg Special by the crate, and kanyenya by literally ordering the whole chiwaya.
After observing this character for a while, the chap braved his shyness and approached him.
The hombre asked him what he does for a living and before the chap could reply, the hombre told him to stuff it.
“Whatever you are doing is taking you nowhere,” he was told. Looking at this character splashing money, buying rounds for each and every chick that greeted him, the chap was taken in.
“This,” he said to himself, “is the life.”
And guess you what? It was not long before the chap mysteriously became a mini-millionaire. You want to know their racket?
It involved stealing a few blank cheques from a company known to have a healthy bank account, forging, cashing the money and sharing the spoils.
It was more complicated than this, but for fear of giving gullible people ideas, I will leave out how this “squad” was circumventing internal control systems at the targeted companies and banks.
Anyway, the fortieth day came. This chap was tipped by a friendly cop that Fiscal Police (then based in Kanabar House opposite Mt Soche Hotel) was looking for him.
Our newly-made tycoon was worried, very. You want to know what he did?
He went back to his mentor. By now they were now buddies being as they were, partners in crime.
“There is nothing to worry about,” was the assurance he got.
Apparently the mentor had a witch doctor at Mpemba who “sorted out” such things for a small fee and in no time at all. They visited the witch doctor and the witch doctor did not disappoint, he “assisted” the chap.
The witch doctor, whose confidence in his khini was infectious, challenged the chap that after taking a bath in ice cold water, water laced with the charms he had been given, in his birth day suit, all the while chanting: “Just as the sun rises from the east never to return, so will this case evaporate – never to return!” on his veranda at dawn; he should drive into Blantyre CBD.
And once there, he should casually walk past Kanabar House, loitering if necessary.
What would happen, the witch doctor told the chap, is that CID Police, who were now frantically looking for him, upon seeing him, will just dismiss him saying:
“Big man wamkulu, ifetu maluzi!” And that will mark the beginning of the disappearance of his file.
The gullible chap complied with these instructions to the letter, drove into Blantyre CBD and went for a walk in Livingstone Avenue, while at it greeting all and sundry at the Ziboliboli Kiosks.
The moment police saw him, they pounced on him. His furious wife and relatives drove to Mpemba to demand an explanation.
The Sing’anga had just one question for them:
“What do the police do when they sight suspects?”
“They arrest them”, they replied in harmony, like a well drilled choir, with expectations still sky high.
“So why are you bothering me?” That, was the end of the conversation. The chap got 14 years IHL.
The point is: what is so difficult with earning money honestly and living within our means that we should rush into get-rich-quick schemes, which always turn out to be nothing but scams?
I will leave this at that.
Who and where is the big fish:
I promised to address the other side of the equation: i.e. Government and Police complicity, so here we go.
What beats me is that after netting the two guys, I can’t understand why the police is taking so long to get to the master-minds i.e. the brains behind this whole tragedy.
Fact is: as long as demand for albino body parts lingers, no Albino will be safe. The police may arrest as many foot soldiers as they want, but albinos will still be killed.
Why isn’t the police using those arrested to get to kingpins, arrest and lock them up, and throw away the keys in Mudi River?
Am I wrong to deduce that some one big and untouchable is behind this? We have seen this before, haven’t we?
Late Robert Chasowa’s and just recently Issa Njauju’s family too, are still waiting for answers. Mysterious fires, burglaries like the one at the German Diplomat’s residence, all seem to be “too complicated” when unseen forces are rumoured to be involved.
How, my fellow countrymen, can we allow ourselves to sink and stay this low? For how long?Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :