It is no more a news that the rate at which albinos across the continent are being attacked, to the extent of getting killed is worrisome and alarming. African leaders in their abilities are endlessly seeking for a measure to curb the menace and Malawi happens to be one these countries going all out on the killers of people with albinism after announcing a death penalty for anyone caught in the act.
The increase in the number of cases involving the brutal and gruesome murder of people living with Albinism in Malawi for money rituals and other diabolical purposes is an issue of concern which has painted the beautiful South-East African country in negative colors.
The menace got to his peak after news made headlines that a group of men traced and murdered a 54-year-old albino man, identified as Yasin Phiri in front of his nine-year-old son at their home in Kande Trading Centre in Nkhata Bay on New Year’s Eve.
This prompted the United Nations to release a statement in January this year warning that if not checked, the about 10,000 albinos currently living in Malawi are at the risk of extinction.
The government of Malawi through its Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu has invoked the country’s Death penalty Law which hasn’t been used since 1994 on any murder case including people found guilty of killing persons with albinism.
Speaking during an SDG debate organized by the Nation Publications Limited (NPL) in conjunction with Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) and United Nations Malawi; the minister said:
“Death sentence is still on the statutes and those who are being prosecuted (for killings and abductions) at the moment can still face it.”
The debate focused on human rights in juxtaposition to the upcoming May 21 elections.
Tembenu also disclosed during the debate’s Questions and Answers session that the government had set aside 30 cases for prosecution under the existing laws.
The false belief that body parts of people living with albinism can bring wealth and also help in making potent charms have made Albinos endangered species in Malawi.
In an interesting shift, however, the spokesman for the United Democratic Front (UDF), Ken Ndanda in his response during the debate said that imposing the death penalty for murder is a contentious one.
“The death penalty is an extreme which we can avoid by implementing the National Action Plan,” he said.
On her part, UTM Party’s representative Hellen Chabunya said:
“An Eye for an eye will make us all blind but we need to stop the silencing of the people who are about, to tell the truth on the killings and abductions.”
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) representative Edgar Chimanjira concurred with Chabunya and said:
“What is disheartening is that people are being arrested but when they want to reveal the truth they are being killed right inside police custody.”