Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi has asked Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) to persuade international rights defenders such as Amnesty International for the application of a death sentence to people convicted of murdering persons with albinism, saying this will deter others from abusing people with albinism.
Dausi made the rematks at the funeral of missing of a boy with albinism in Machinga District, MacDonald Masambuka popularly known in his area as Mark who went missing on March 9, 2018.
His remarks comes after APAM and the Malawi Police Service (MPS) have engaged in verbal war blaming each other over measures to contain continued abduction and killings of people with albinism.
Dausi said the heinous crimes perpetrated against people with albinism can only come to an end with a stiffer punishment.
He said government has managed to influence change of the law—amendment of the Anatomy Act to provide for stiff penalties to people who abuse persons with disabilities.
Since last year, Malawi has been facing incidences of killings and abductions of people with albinism, a development that has disturbed peace for such people and their families.
This is due to the myths that human parts of albinos can be used—without any proof—to cure certain diseases as well as to make people rich.
The latest case on Masambuka, police have so far arrested 12 people including a cop and family members.
APAM Country Coordinator Boniface Massa blamed the police for not doing enough to contain the situation by providing the much needed security to people with albinism.
Other than the security aspect, Massa blamed the police for failure to trace and bring back to their families the missing people with albinism. He said the latest case of Mark should give food for thought law enforcers.
“We are dealing with an organised crime and this missing of Mike and other people since we started registering attacks in Malawi, it shows how sophisticated these guys are and it also gives a lot of security assignment to our security officers to say they have they failed? Are these crime perpetrators better than our security personnel?” wondered Massa.
He said APAM has tried in the past to do massive awareness and people have accepted the plight of people with albinism, adding that the association went a mile further to work with the police through community policing structures, but said consistency is lacking in the fight.
“As it stands today, it brings in issues of us losing trust in our security mechanisms because if criminals take us to the extent of having no trace or whereabouts of people with albinism that becomes a serious threat to persons with albinism even people who are living with people with albinism,” added Massa.
Deputy National Police Publicist Thomeck Nyaude dismissed Massa’s sentiments, saying it is untrue and that police officers are doing everything possible to contain the situation.
“It is not true that we have failed, much as we understand their situation in as far as the crime is concerned, the police are working tirelessly day and night that these issues should stop forthwith,” said Nyaude.
He went further to assure APAM and the citizenry at large that as police, they are doing everything possible to see to it that the crimes in question should stop.
On inconsistency in the fight against the crime, Nyaude explained that the key challenge has been lack of coordination in the fight against the crime, saying some stakeholders involved in helping to curb the crime are mainly doing it alone.
“The first challenge is that we are lacking the team approach, a lot of players are not doing the needful to collaborate and the second challenge is the myth that people believe to say using human parts of our friends with albinism they can get rich, it is the myth that is doing a lot of damage than the criminals,” explained Nyaude.
Since attacks on people with albinism started last year, government, civil society and other non-State actors have condemned the issue publicly and some people who have been insulting and mocking people with albinism have been arrested as a measure to protect people with albinism
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