Persons with albinism in Malawi are in despair with what they call lack of state protection from attacks driven by the belief – advanced by some witchdoctors – that albinos’ body parts have properties that confer wealth and good luck, and now they are calling for formation of vigilante groups to hand out punishment to suspected perpetrators of attacks on people with albinism in the country.
Malawi has recorded at least 65 attacks on people with albinism, including murders, in over a year, the UN confirmed.
But persons with albinism accuse government of not doing enough in crackdown on the attacks hence calling for mob-style justice.
“Malawi government is not interested to stop killings of albinos. All they are doing is time passing measures waiting for us to be finished,” said Ian Simbota, the national coordinator for the albino clinic at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.
Simbota told Capital Radio’s DayBreak Malawi programme that mob-style-justice will be the best way forward
He said mob justice though not correct or fair, but it is effective and efficient. Way to end albino killings.
Put to him that government has put measures amongst them special prosecutor to pursue perpetrators of attacks on people with albinism in the country and that President Peter Mutharika has also formed a task force led by his aide Dr Hetherwick Ntaba, Simbota said “these are time passing measures.”
“Is Ntaba a police officer. Let President Mutharika [be tough] like Tanzania President John Pombe Magufuli on albino killers,” said Simbota, advancing eye for an eye action.
“Failure by this government is already there. Let’s use mob justice,” Simbota stressed.
He said mob justice is the only way when justice systems have failed, saying if law enforcement officers would go the extra mile in fighting crime, then there would be no need for mob justice.
But Task Force chair, Ntaba said mob justice leads to serious violations of human rights, saying it denies the victims the opportunity to be taken through the due process of law and to be heard.
Ntaba said as government they are taking measures end the attacks.
“We need to identify the magnitude of the problem,” said Ntaba.
He said government has started registering all persons with albinism for their safety and security.
Their places of stay, names, and age are among the required information that government will need so that proper safety of their lives is guaranteed, according to Ntaba.
On Monday, President Peter Mutharika told BBC Focus on Africa TV that he feels ashamed by the attacks on albinos in Malawi
Mutharika said that he had not rejected the idea of increasing prison sentences for people behind the attacks – but that he would not introduce a death penalty as it already exists for homicide in Malawi.
He added that he was sending officials to neighbouring Tanzania to learn how they had dealt with similar attacks.
Archbishop Tarcizius Ziyaye of Lilongwe Archdiocese of the Catholic Church recently condemned albino killers, saying perpetrators were committing an inhumane sin.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :