UTM Party led by State Vice-President Saulos Chilima has denied allegations that it financed human rights defenders Gift Trapence and Timothy Mtambo in their purported soliciting of ‘recorded evidence’ implicating President Peter Mutharika in the abductions and killings of people with albinism (PWAs).
The party has said the allegations are calculated to divert people’s attention from making the right choice ahead of the forthcoming tripartite elections.
UTM has also denied that it funded Association of People With Albinism (APAM) recent vigils, describing the allegations as mere smear campaign.
Poor and Concerned People With Albinism (PACPWA), a splinter group of APAM, made these allegations against UTM in a statement it jointly issued with Islamic Commission for Justice and Freedom (ICJF).
Co-signed by PACPWA Chairperson Francis Masambuka and Chief Commissioner for ICJF Shaibu Abdul Rahaman Ajassie, the statement alleges that UTM financed Trapence, Mtambo and some journalists to record voices that would implicate President Mutharika in the abductions and killings of PWAs in order to bring down his administration.
The statement also reveals that UTM party officials were directly involved in the organization of APAM’s recent vigils, alleging that many of the party’s senior officials attended planning meetings ahead of the vigils.
In the statement, PACPWA and ICJF have demanded for a probe into the link between APAM, human rights defenders and UTM and their involvement in issues of PWAs, saying their actions are suspicious and a threat to the very lives of PWAs they seem to be defending.
Already, Trapence and Mtambo have been earmarked for arrest in a supposedly State sanctioned crackdown on people involved in the recordings to implicate him in the abductions and killings of PWAs.
However, in a response made available to Nyasa Times, UTM spokesperson, Dr Joseph Chidanti Malunga, said all the allegations are false.
“Right now, we are at the blink of deciding the destiny of our country and we know that there are efforts out there to sway or influence the people’s choice. Such efforts include these allegations. UTM has never in anyway engaged the human rights defenders,” stated Malunga.
He added: “These are allegations aimed at tarnishing our image. Everyone knows who is creating parallel groups within APAM”.
Malawi is grappling with a resurgence of abductions and killings of PWAs, prompting APAM to raise deep security concerns and threatening that the entire PWAs population will migrate to other countries where they would be guaranteed of their safety.
About 25 PWAs have been killed while several others are still missing since the abductions and killings began in Malawi six years ago.
The attacks are fueled by widespread unsubstantiated beliefs across the country that bones and body parts of people with albinism are used for charms that bring luck and wealth.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :