Government spokesperson has said a presidential commission of inquiry set up early 2019 to investigate killings of people with albinism (PWAs) is not ready with is findings.
Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology Mark Botomani has said Malawians must exercise “patience”, saying the report is almost ready and will be released soon – without stating the exact date – almost 11 months after it’s scheduled deadline.
Following a series of attacks on people with albinism, including brutal murders, President Peter Mutharika instituted a commission of inquiry, headed by retired judge Robert Chinangwa, which came into effect on March 5 2019 to investigate the killings and produce a report by April 30 2019.
The commission was supposed to issue a report by April 2019 but since then, there has been no communication on the matter despite such attacks resurfacing.
Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) who have demanded the release of the report for stakeholders to work on the recommendations and address the brutal attacks.
HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo said government inquiries have become a means of silencing serious issues.
“It seems the President just wanted to score political points by instituting a commission that could not deliver. Of course from the start we questioned the commission that had been put in place. We felt it lacked capacity and it wasn’t independent,” he said.
Apam has since given government up to March 30 to release findings of an inquiry.
In a statement, Apam president Ian Simbota said: “Government is keeping under wraps a commission of inquiry report which the State President received in 2019. Other stakeholders have also emulated the precedent set by government, keeping their studies’ dossiers locked up in office cabinets with keys kept in their loins.
“By default, government and those that call themselves ‘stakeholders and partners’ and yet they are engaged in such strange phenomena are playing the role of accomplices. We continue to wonder how they hold themselves accountable by not releasing the studies’ reports.”
Meanwhile, Livingstonia Synod Church and Society Programme executive director Moses Mkandawire has condemned the manner in which government is handling the issue.
Since November 2014, over 150 crimes against people with albinism have been reported in Malawi, including 25 murders and over 10 people missing, according to Apam.
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