Malawians have condemned the President Peter Mutharika administration for intimidating persons with albinism.
This follows a statement which government released yesterday blasting persons with albinism for blocking the M1 road in Lilongwe.
The group under Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi was protesting against failure by the Mutharika administration to end killings of persons with albinism.
Police officers attacked the group and at least seven people with albinism were arrested while some suffered injuries.
Later on Saturday, Minister of Information and Communications Technology Henry Mussa released a statement saying government will not condone lawlessness.
He claimed that the protests were sponsored by enemies of law and order to provoke situations that would be blamed on Government in general and the Malawi Police Service in particular.
“Blocking of the road, hurling insults and stoning road users can never be justified when Government has offered all avenues for dialogue and also provided support for members of the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi since they opted to conduct demonstrations and vigils.
“Let the public including people living with albinism be informed that Government will not associate with exercising of rights in a manner that violates the rights of other people, inconveniences them, undermines their dignity and endangers their security and property.
“Government has a duty to ensure that Malawi is peaceful. As such, anybody who conducts themselves in a manner that shows they assume to be above the law will not be tolerated,” Musa said.
He warned that the police will continue to fight lawlessness and said government will neither defend anybody who violates the law for any reason whatsoever nor support exercise of rights in a manner that disregards the rights of other people.
However, Malawians have condemned Mussa’s statement saying government is intimidating persons with albinism who are already fearing for their lives since they are killed because of their skin.
“This all is intimidation, people have been demonstrating for reasons even valueless than this. Talking about lawlessness don’t they know what happened at Luchenza lately? Should we say the police don’t know what Ntopwa and his colleagues are doing?” said one Malawian.
“It’s a sensitive time to come up with such militant press releases. Your priorities are upside down. You should be protecting the vulnerable not arresting them,” said another Malawi commenting on Malawi Government Facebook page.
While Julius Bright said: “The vulnerable citizens have been patient for too long already hence they decided to resort into protest so that the so called DPP led government can hear their voices but alas the police as usual victimized our brothers and sisters even more. Strange enough the police are only deployed to torture these fellows instead of protecting them in the first place.”
Some Malawians noted that there have been cases of anarchy involving Democratic Progressive Party supporters which government has never condemned.
“When DPP cadets beat up people in parliament in full view of the police, you still say none is above the law, really? Isn’t this irony?” wondered Profigo Victor.
“Aren’t these ‘Ana Adad’ number plates a form of high profile lawlessness? What about those thugs who blocked the road when Chakwera was on his way to conduct a rally in Mulanje? And those who mercilessly beat and undressed individuals from the other side of the political aisle? Are some people more/less Malawian than others?” Austin Misoya said.