Killings of persons with albinism: Malawians call for death sentence

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As the Malawi government is failing to find solutions to deal with abductions and killings of people with albinism in the country, Malawians say death sentence for the killers is a lasting solution.

This follows the gruesome murder of a 54 year old Yasin Kwenda Phiri born with albinism from Mundiyeghe village, T/A Fukamapiri in Nkhatabay district who was mercilessly killed on the New Year’s Eve.

Phiri was attacked by four criminals who entered his house through the window as he was sleeping and started stabbing him in presence of his son, George Phiri who could do nothing on his father’s fate.

The murder of Phiri shocked Malawians and authorities who believed that the attacks on persons with albinism had stopped.

On Malawi24’s Facebook post asking for people’s views on the required solutions towards ending the practice, most Malawians who commented want the activation of the death penalty.

On the post which saw at least 300 comments, people rebuffed some calls for the government to give firearms to all persons with albinism claiming that would increase cases of robbery in the country.

However, commenters said government needs to be serious now and bring back the death penalty.

Jekel Khalani Lwazi said: “That’s a good idea but my worry is for those who are still young under 18 how would it work. Let us approve death penalty for those who kills person with albinism.”

Hastings Wadza Kasonga Jnr commented:  “zinthu sizingasinthe because behind the attackers you will find a government official is there. I wish kuti azinyongedwa.”

Out of the first 300 comments on the post, over 200 readers commented in support for the activation of the death penalty to all the perpetrators.

Some commenters on the post blamed President Peter Mutharika for just saying there will be stiff punishment to those caught killing persons with albinism without mentioning death punishment.

Some commenters blamed traditional doctors saying they have a hand in the increase of these deaths hence they should be licensed and be regulated.

“Superstitious beliefs should be uprooted in most people. We need to be taught that you only earn money through hard work. Witch doctors should be licenced. Anybody who contravene stipulated laws the license be revoked.

“Everybody should be taught about love to one another thus including albino. Stiff punishment for those found to be in business or harassment of albino. The whole society should be alert in protection of albino,” Commented Yolam Nyirenda on the post.

While Masa Goodluck Kandoje said Malawians are just good at making policies but the challenge comes when it is time to implement. He added that these killings could have been abolished way back but justice in the country is applied when the suspect is just a poor Malawian.

Meanwhile, the country’s police has confessed failure to trace any available markets where killers of people with albinism could be selling the body parts that they dismember.

Police Regional Commissioner for the North, Hannings Mlotha said the police would welcome any information from citizens that could lead to such a breakthrough and the arrest of all the perpetrators.

The remarks by Commissioner Mlotha come barely days after Catholic Archbishop of Blantyre Archdiocese, Thomas Msusa, expressed concern over the failure by the police to trace culprits engaged in killings of people with albinism.

In 2016, Mulanje South Member of Parliament Bon Kalindo organized half naked protests forcing the Malawi government to start using the death sentence on everyone convicted of killing a person with albinism.

However, the demonstrations were done in vain as up to now the death penalty in question is still inactive on human rights grounds.

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