Lhomwe Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa has called on fellow chiefs to be proactive and vigilant in the fight against abductions and killings of people with albinism (PWAs).
Speaking at his Ntunda Osema Headquarters in Thyolo on Tuesday, he said as custodians of culture, chiefs need to ensure that people live in harmony without fear.
“We live in the villages with people as such we have the obligation to ensure that everyone lives in peace and that those threatening other people’s rights are rooted out.
“This [abductions and killings] is evil which should not be tolerated at all cost,” said the paramount chief.
He expressed sadness that PWAs are hunted like animals, saying chiefs should take a leading role to ensure that those involved in the act are caught so that the law takes its course.
Inkosi Kampingo Sibande of Mzimba agreed with Ngolongoliwa’s sentiments, saying it is high time the community understood that PWAs are human beings just like anybody else.
The chief said he has taken a leading role to spread awareness messages among his people not to abduct or kill PWAs.
“This behaviour needs to be condemned at all cost because there is nothing about people with albinism apart from the fact that they are human beings and our brothers and sisters.
“We will not tire to spread awareness messages until the malpractice is stopped,” said the Ngoni chief.
There are beliefs that some body parts of PWAs are used for rituals by traditional leaders.
However, Malawi Traditional Healers Umbrella Organisation (Mthuo) last week denied the assertions.
In an interview in Blantyre last week after a meeting with Public Affairs Committee (PAC), Mthuo president Frank Manyowa said if the stories are true, then those involved are not their members.
“What should be clear is that there are three groups of traditional healers. There are those of us who use traditional medicine to heal people, witch doctors that promise people wealth and magicians. In our organisation, we do not allow the last two groups,” he said.
Since 2014, Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) has recorded 152 cases of abductions with 25 killed.