A group of persons with albinism calling itself Poor and Concerned People with Albinism (PACPWA) has emerged with a spirited swipe at the Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) leadership accusing it of politicising issues to do with the abductions and killings of their kindred, and taking an “elitist approach.”
PACPWA has, through a statement published Wednesday signed by the group’s chairperson Francis Masambuka and secretary general Ellen Khonje, indicated that it is ready to meet with President Peter Mutharika Thursday morning for dialogue over issues affecting them.
The move is a challenge to APAM leadership as its president, Overtone Kondowe, outrightly pointed out that they would only be meeting Mutharika during their vigil scheduled for March 6 to 8 next week.
In the statement seen by Nyasa Times, PACPWA says “APAM has adopted an elitist approach in its operations leaving out the most poor and vulnerable who unfortunately are in majority as regards to PWA. These are the target of the killings and abductions in the country.
“There is a difference between the leaders, executive of APAM and rest of the PWA as the gap of poverty and issues faced with is huge and alarming. Of late, APAM is becoming a more political organization with a select few elite at the helm and more concerned with their image than the plight of the PWA.”
As a response, PACPWA says, it has put “our destiny in our own hands where we become brothers keepers and not trust the elite PWA whose focus seems to be a self-enrichment process.”
Among others, the block has accused APAM of taking a stand which is more of a militant position against government and “a soft spot” with the opposition political parties thereby throwing lives of persons with albinism into dangerous political games.
“In this regard, the lives of PWA has been reduced to a political puppet which can be showcased for sympathy of votes and not necessarily assisting in addressing their plight,” the statement says.
According to PACPWA, they find wanting “the decision and reasoning of APAM for turning down a meeting with the Head of State.”
Reads the statement: “First, we the PWA believe that dialogue with different stakeholders as key to addressing the issues affecting us while APAM feels that only the Opposition leaders should be met while the President and Government must be made to be our enemy.
“We are saddened that the opposition political parties seems to fuel PWA disdain towards the Government while they have little or nothing to offer to the plight of the same group.”
PACPWA further acknowledges the “strong political will” and “multiple interventions by government” through its various departments and agencies, and other organizations and development partners to curb these attacks and ensure the security and safety of people with albinism.
While APAM president could not be immediately available for comment, social commentator Stanley Onjezani Kenani, backed APAM’s decision to turn down the Thursday meeting with President Mutharika.
“APAM is right in turning down the made-for-the-cameras meeting with the President, whose half-hearted attempts at ending the killings of people with albinism leave no one in doubt that there will be no tangible outcome,” Kenani wrote on his Facebook wall.
Persons with Albinism will hold a three-day vigil from March 6 to 8 2019 at Kamuzu Palace, official residence of President Mutharika, to express their displeasure with continued attacks of its members.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :