Sovereignty on trial

The crisis of security, safety and citizenship of persons with albinism is a huge disgrace to the people and government of Malawi.

To the extent that bona fide citizens of an independent country are prepared to seek asylum elsewhere and countries offer to provide that safety, Malawi’s sovereignty is indicted.

In spite of the enormity of the issue, it has largely been met with the usual procrastination. Rather than demand action from security, defence and judicial institutions, we see meetings with victims.

For victims of one of the most systematic murder sprees, violations of human rights and ritualism, it is sad that victims have to meet failed protectors. 

Meeting leaders to receive assurances made over and over again was self-betrayal. This is not only manipulation and emasculation, but also perfect divide and rule designed to disorient the affected population.

Rather, persons with albinism should have stayed in the valley of doom and carry on the fight than climb the mountain to sell hard-earned moral authority and lose the support of society.

Which is why I celebrate the courage of the Association of People with Albinism (Apam) leadership for being resolute about staging the vigil at State House. It is a legitimate move that needs support.

If you have a government which waits for the killing of innocent citizens to reach crisis levels, you have no leaders worth trusting—none whatsoever.

No government will wait for hundreds of people to be killed first before taking action. One citizen killed mindlessly is one too many and criminal regardless of skin colour.

And it is not just government that has failed persons with albinism. The entire Malawian society is almost complicit. In keeping silent,  we all have failed.

Apam president Overstone Kondowe is right that government is responsible for protecting all people, but in a democracy, it is also the duty of all citizens to support fellow citizens in demanding equality and social justice, especially in the face of weak leadership.

For now it is only the victim fighting. Apam is grappling with mountains of evil tides while millions watch.

Where are the mothers who suffer the pangs of bringing forth life? Where are the fathers who must protect the next generations? Where are the youth to safeguard their fellow young people?

It’s time to put pressure on government to act.  After all, we all finance own protection through taxes. This is not money for buying silence from people bruised by bloody discrimination.  

If the language of demonstrations is what the ruling Democratic Progressive Party ( DPP) best understands, Malawians have to learn and speak that language.

There is a gang of satanic opportunists fuelling the murders and there are people who know these killers. 

The reality is that some people bigger than government could be beneficiaries and the system is shielding them.

Yes there must be a huge syndicate intended to satisfy a get-rich-quick drive, to create fear and public disorientation and to derail any counter-action, including the opposition. Little wonder potential witnesses ready to name names have to die so the killing is sustained. 

If this is not the case, then we must see a stop without public action.

The best way to address this matter is to let the police, army and judicial system work unencumbered. Government should mobilise its security apparatus and demand results, not summon helpless victims of orchestrated torture.

Go on and institute a robust witness protection plan; launch a reward to informers; and prosecute those implicated. Why should perpetrators be allowed to hide in plain sight? They must be flushed out.

This does not need billions of kwacha; it needs human decisions. It does not need talk-shops, but unfettered action.   

Ending killings of persons with albinism does not call for wisdom or politicking. It needs a humane heart. n

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