Committee calls for stiffer punishment for albino killers

National Technical Committee on Abuse of Persons with Albinism in Malawi has called on the Government through the judicial system to lender stiffer punishments to those involved in the killing, abduction and exhumation of the remains of people living with albinism.

The Committee chaired by, Dr Hertherwick Ntaba also requested for the arrest of traditional healers, chiefs and relatives of those albinos killed arguing they know something about the matters.

The call comes amid reports of the death of a Mr Fletcher Masina in Ntheu District who was killed while working in his farm.

Said Dr. Ntaba, “this committee was instituted to discuss and reach agreements with all stakeholders and further oversee the implementation of all those agreements, initiatives and strategizes that will have to be put in place. Therefore, we have so far agreed that investigation and prosecution of criminal suspects in the atrocities against persons with albinism must be handled with speed.

“The special prosecutor on crimes of person with albinism in conjunction with the Malawi Police must asses all concluded cases which got lenient sentences so that an appeal can be made for tougher penalties where appropriate.”

The committee also suggests that traditional healers must be regulated, registered and operate within their code while also having met the required standards.

In addition, the committee has asked traditional leaders to clear the myth and senseless speculations of bones and parts of people with albinism.

Reporting on the progress made by the committee in as far as the matter is concerned, Dr Ntaba said an exercise to indentify and register the population of people with albinism has started and that the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs is working on a handbook that will have all provisions for the charges to do with attacks on people with albinism and also reviewing some of the laws such as the anatomy Act that will address ugly crimes of trading in bones or body parts of albinos.

“Despite that we have no resources, we will continue with the awareness campaign until we stop all these senseless attacks,” explained Dr. Ntaba calling for all Malawians and all stakeholders to join hands and fight for a better future of people with albinism.

Frank Manyowa, Leader of Traditional Healers Association in Malawi who also attended the press briefing quashed allegations being made that they were the ones fueling the attacks saying none of the genuine traditional healers could make or multiply money.

“It is pathetic that we are considered to be the key players in this whole scenario, frankly speaking, we cannot make money by use of human body parts, what is happening is purely the work of Satan. I must believe that those traditional healers claiming to multiply money are not genuine but they are rather illuminants who tarnish our name,” he claimed.

Manyowa has since asked traditional healer to stop advertising their products with the media (print or electronic) unless endorsed by his office.

“May we ask the chiefs to register all traditional healers in their vicinity and make sure that any new comer is investigated and registered with us before allowing them to carry out their works,” he said.

Meanwhile, the committee has appealed to the media houses of the country to help in clearing out the myth.

Killing and abduction of people living with albinism has been a crisis for the country since 2013 and this year alone, about 18 people have been killed. The situation has created fear in many of the albinos to the extent that some have chosen to be indoors for fear of their lives.

Source: Malawi News Agency