Presidential adviser on local policies Dr Hetherwick Ntaba, who is aslo chairperson of National Technical Committee on Abuse of Persons, is lobbying for the application of a death sentence to people convicted of murdering persons with albinism as as a deterrent measure to would-be offenders.
Ntaba told a news conference in Lilongwe that he is in favour of resuming executions in response to rising murder rates of persons with albinism.
Hangman job should be restored, according to Ntaba as he observed that innocent people with albinism are being murdered in the country but the perpetrators are handed lenient sentences not equivalent to their barbaric acts.
“We want the courts to pass stiffer punishments or even death sentences to those that are found guilty of such cases. This will help the country to reduce the killings of people with albinism,” Ntaba said.
He reminded the nation that laws on death and life sentences are there but some donor partners are against their implementation arguing that they are a violation of human rights.
“I was part of the team which conducted public inquiry on the issue of death sentence as part of consultations for the 1994 Constitution—Malawians overwhelmingly supported the inclusion of death penalty in our laws and I do not think that perception has changed,” he said.
Ntaba said the heinous crimes perpetrated against people with albinism can only come to an end with a stiffer punishment. He said the committee 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.
However, Ntaba applauded the progress made in prosecuting such cases with speed and efficiency. He attributed this development to proper coordination and unity among the office of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Judiciary and the Police.
According to Ntaba, such a working relationship among these bodies has necessitated speedy delivery of justice in cases involving violation of rights for people with albinism.
“We can confirm that cases of this nature are now being handled by professional magistrates or high courts for proper prosecution and sentencing.
“As of now, the office of the DPP with support from the UNDP is in the process of prosecuting 13 non-murder cases involving persons with albinism in court,” he said.
President for the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) Overtone Kondowe commended the Police for stepping up security in the country to protect people living with albinism.
He cited the formation of community policing forums as a good move in checking and protecting people with albinism within their locality.
“We view this as a positive initiative in minimizing cases of attacks and abduction for people with albinism,” Kondowe said.
The country has registered 122 cases since 2013 in which 412 cases have concluded with 25 murder cases still to be finalised.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :