The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), an umbrella body of the Catholic Church in the country, and members of Parliament (MPs) have bemoaned delays by the criminal justice system to dispense justice in murder cases involving persons with albinism.
ECM national coordinator for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Boniface Chibwana, observed that the delay is creating room for corruption and impunity as evidenced by the missing of files and alleged unprofessional handling of the cases by law enforcement agencies.
Chibwana made the remarks in Lilongwe during a dinner lobbying engagement with members of Parliament (MPs) who belong to Parliamentary Committees on Legal Affairs, Health and Social and Community Welfare hosted on Thursday.
“Even when the cases have been reported with the criminal justice system, there have been delays to conclude such cases as law enforcement agencies such as the Malawi Police Service and the Judiciary are presently facing institutional and financial challenges to dispense justice on cases involving killings, attacks and abduction of these vulnerable people. Elements of corruption and impunity can already be seen as there have been reported cases of missing files and unprofessional handling of the cases,” he said.
The dinner lobbying engagement was part of the activities under the ‘Safeguarding the Rights of Persons with Albinism in Malawi focusing on the Rights to Access to Justice and Healthcare Project’, which ECM is implementing with funding from European Union (EU) through the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF).
The project is being implemented in Machinga and Zomba districts.
Chibwana lamented that the fight against abduction, attacks and killings of persons with albinism is further compounded by failure by the criminal investigation systems to unearth the market for the body parts of these people.
He, however, commended President Lazarus Chakwera for demonstrating commitment to address the vice and promote the welfare of persons with albinism by appointing a Presidential Advisor on Disability Issues [Overstone Kondowe].
Machinga East legislator Esther Jolobala said she shares the feelings by ECM, stressing that the delay in dispensing justice in such cases does not reflect well on Malawi on the international scene.
“However, we need to be blamed as well for failing to push for increased allocation to criminal justice systems to enable them prosecute the cases. We pledge to work with you in ensuring that rights of persons with albinism are safeguarded,” assured Jolobala.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Welfare, Savel Kafwafwa, said the committee will lobby MPs to consider allocating adequate resources to the criminal justice systems in future budgets.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :