Are Albino murders political?

Following the resurgence of attacks and killings of persons with albinism in the country recently, Association of People with Albinism (Apam) is planning to hold a vigil at Kamuzu Palace on March 3 until government addresses their security concerns. So far, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera and some civil society organisations (CSOs)have endorsed the march. Our reporter AYAMI MKWANDA caught up with Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi to get government’s reaction and what measures are being taken to end the attacks.

Dausi: This has gone political

Q

: What is your reaction to the resurgence of the attacks and killings of persons with albinism in the country?

A

: As regards the resurgence of attacks and killings of persons with albinism, it is really a sad story that should worry every well-meaning Malawian. You see, what we really want is to collectively fight these barbaric and primitive acts of killing or maiming persons with albinism. Since its resurgence, we have taken this issue very seriously. Through the members of the public security organisations and the police, we are trying to investigate the motive behind the attacks, those planning them, the places where they plot, who coordinate the business, tricks they employ to beat security, so on and so forth. So you can see we are trying to find out or go deeper to unearth everything. But to say the truth, this is really a national concern that we should all face collectively.

Q

: How different is the blood sucking issue of 2017 from this one in terms of approach in finding solutions?

A

: In terms of gravity, the two incidents can be said to be the same with slight differences. This is so because there is gravity wherever a person is killed. In short, any loss of life which is not sanctified by God is grave. It is this sanctity of human life which is so paramount that we feel in both events is a big problem.

However, the only difference though is that this time around the people who are involved in killing persons with albinism—those that connive, conspire, plan, plot—are relatives.

This really has put us in a security quagmire, a security crossroads to see what it is exactly we can find out to piece information together and pay strict detail to what is happening.  So, that is the difference needed in the approach.

On the other hand, what happened in 2017 with bloodsuckers, was merely rumour mongering but this time around this is a reality and we hope and pray that people will come to their senses and moral uprightness that we are known for as a country—the Warm Heart of Africa should continue to prevail. And as I have said before, we can only achieve this

when church leaders, traditional authorities and everyone comes together.

Q

: Apart from engaging traditional and religious leaders, are you deploying more security personnel in the areas where persons with albinism live?

A

: I want to tell you that matters of national security cannot be discussed in the press. We will be a laughing stock. No country will discuss that in the press. I decline that question.

Q

: …But should we believe that government is doing everything it can to ensure there is security around the clock in locations and villages where these people live?

A

: Whatever language you can use to describe that, but I am not going to give you more details.

Q

: What is your reaction to Apam’s plan to hold a vigil on March 3 at State House, a decision MCP leader Chakwera and some CSOs have endorsed?

A

: This has gone political. You can see that the way to solve this was not supposed to be through vigils. The MCP leader Chakwera said that he knows the solutions and that he is going to solve the problem when he gets into government. So we are telling Apam to tell Chakwera, whom they met, to offer immediate solutions. We are tempted to believe Chakwera is the one behind this political march and the political utterances by Apam. We cannot wait for people to continue dying because Chakwera wants to get into government; he should just offer the solutions now. That is totally insensitive and unfortunate to say there are solutions but they should wait until a certain period of time. We also gather Apam met UTM leader Saulos Chilima to find solutions. That is why we believe this march has gone political. I don’t know in their view if Apam knows what they are doing will help them. Well, you can ask them.

Q

: But CSOs will also join the march to State House. So, where is politics there?

A

: Anybody can join them. But for the CSOs, well, these are people who have been holding demonstrations since 2014. We are used to them now and they are used to be on the street too. You see, these people had no agenda to hold demonstrations for. But now they have found an agenda. However, morally speaking, the problem is that you don’t demonstrate or protest on somebody’s grave; we are talking about people’s lives here. And just consider also people who have lost their relations! I don’t know where our country is going morally but people are the best judges.

Q

: What is your message to Malawians in the current state of affairs?

A

: To continue working together and fight collectively. If someone has information regarding the attackers and killers and where they sell the parts, they should bring that information and report to the police so that we can put these people behind bars.

Q

: Any last words?

A

: As a country that prides itself as a God-fearing nation, what is happening is unbelievable. And I would like to assure that government will do all it can by employing all security measures to safeguard our brothers and sisters with albinism. I would also like to advise politicians that if they want to buy cheap popularity and votes, let’s not use other people’s deaths, or those that have lost their loved ones. That will be sinking too low. Let us fight collectively to end the attacks and killings.

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