APAM accuses Mutharika of interfering in commission’s work


… Doubts credibility of commission on killings of persons with albinism

Kondowe : signed the statement

The Association of Persons with Albinism (APAM) has accused President Peter Mutharika of interfering in the work of a commission of inquiry on the killings of persons with albinism.

The grouping has questioned Mutharika’s remarks during the swearing in of the commission last week where he warned the Commission to watch out for people who may be paid and manipulated in order to provide misleading information or to implicate some people.

In a statement Monday, APAM expressed deep concern over the remarks saying issuing of orders to the newly established Commission of Inquiry into the killings of persons with albinism on who to listen to and areas to focus on could be a deliberate tactic to interfere with the work of the Commission.

“We fear that such subjective remarks will influence the commission to look away from such allegations which are already implicating some public figures.  The expectation of the public was that President Mutharika would stick to giving the Commission the terms of reference and reporting procedures and deadlines. Telling the Commission what to do and what to look for is outrageous,” reads part of the statement signed by APAM president Overstone Kondowe.

The organisation added that the Commission should be left to do its work without any interference in order to come up with their independent conclusions and recommendations.

APAM also expressed concern over the composition of the commission of inquiry saying the commissioners have capacity gaps to conduct such high level investigation.

According to the association, it doubts the credibility of the outcome or findings of such a Commission of Inquiry way before it releases a report due the composition problem.

“It is very sad and disturbing! Elsewhere the composition of such Commission of Inquiries is made in consultation with the appropriate authorities like Parliament and the concerned parties like APAM to ensure effective independence which is deemed an important element to conducting their functions.

“APAM feels hoodwinked for lack of consultation with the appropriate authorities and concerned parties in instituting the Commission of Inquiry,” APAM said.

Meanwhile, APAM has recommended the hiring of a foreign independent investigator to probe the killings of persons with albinism so that the investigation should be effective, reliable, credible and acceptable.

“In the present case we can’t even trust the State authorities since in other African countries such State functionaries and politicians have been involved in the heinous activities. We have to be serious for once as a country in cycles over the matter. As APAM, we express distrust to the Commission of Inquiry. Hence, APAM stand firm on the independent inquiry into this issue! APAM does not want to be hoodwinked with this staged Commission of Inquiry,” the association said in its statement.

APAM has also proposed that the inquiry should be beamed live with those interviewed being told that the whole nation is watching.

The association said such an approach will assist the commission to get to the bottom of the problem.

The commission which Mutharika instituted has from this 5th March until 30th April to conduct the investigations. It is headed by retired Justice Robert Chinangwa.

Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe, activist Abigail Dzimadzi and Grace Massah come as members.

Paramount Chief Kawinga, George Jobe, Hilda Soko and Brenda Vokhiwa Kapenda are the other members.