BY ANDREW NYONDO
Minister for Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo Banda has challenged the Malawi Police Service (MPS) and its stakeholders to come up with stringent measures that should once and for all put to an end killings of people with albinism in the country.
The Minister told the Inspector General of Police (IG) George Kainja in a stakeholders meeting on the protection of people with albinism that any death of the person with albinism shall not be accepted in President Lazarus Chakwera’s regime.
Chimwendo Banda, who held a five hour closed meeting with the Malawi Human Rights Commission, Association of People with Albinism (APAM) and MPS’s top management officials hinted that there is a high level commitment from President Chakwera to see people with albinism being freed from heartless killings.
He said “It is in the heart of President Chakwera to end killings against people with albinism. We want to finish each and every year without hearing any death of the person with albinism. We need people who can be looking at these issues, we need people who can be answerable to these issues.”
Emphasising on his call, the Minister, who is popularly known as the ‘Bulldozer’ in a political sphere told stakeholders to take the matter seriously and that they should join hands in setting standards on protecting people living albinism.
He added “I am not here for fame, but I am here to set standards. Let’s continue meeting to properly review our work. I assure you all our stakeholders that Chakwera’s government is your best partner in the fight against killings of people with albinism.”
On his part, Kainja told the Minister that his administration has outlined a number of fresh activities to be implemented in line with the National Action Plan (NAP) against abduction and killings of people with albinism.
According to senior police officers among others, some of the fresh activities that will be undertaken for the next three years include training people from community policing structures so that they should be equipped with relevant skills on how to protect and respond to attacks of PWAs.
Police officials also say they will have continued public engagements on safety and security of persons with albinism and train police officers from lower police formations on prevention and responding to attacks on PWAs.
In his remarks, Apam president Ian Simbota told the Minister that the Association is happy with the fresh responsive activities which MPS has outlined in ensuring that vulnerable PWAs are protected from killings.
Until today, markets for body parts of PWAs are still not known. Former President Peter Mutharika instituted a commission of inquiry to reveal circumstances leading to the abductions and killings of PWAs as well as establishing markets for their body parts.
Despite receiving hefty funding under the NAP initiative, the commission flopped to meet expectations of Malawians. No report was presented to Mutharika.
President Chakwera promised Malawians that when he ascends to the high office of presidency he would end killings on PWAs.
Since 2013 to 2019, the country recorded a total of 194 cases on abductions and killings of people with albinism, before President Chakwera rose to power, the country recorded 18 cases in 2019 alone.
But when he became the State President cases significantly reduced from 18 to 4, representing slightly about 75 percent reduction of cases.
This year, the country recorded one case on killing of a person with albinism identified as Ian Muhama. This according to the Minister is a situation which is still worrying Chakwera’s government hence the challenge given to MPS.
The activities which the Malawi Police Service and its stakeholders will be implementing shall complement government’s effort to constructs houses for PWAs.