Albino splinter group to meet Peter Mutharika


By Audrey Kapalamula:


Divisions have emerged among people with albinism (pwas) following Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi’s (Apam) decision to turn down President Peter Mutharika’s invitation to a round table.

On Tuesday, Mutharika, through Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara, issued a statement saying he would meet pwas for around table over escalating cases of abduction and killing of such persons in Malawi.


However, Apam rebuffed the invitation, stressing that Mutharika should meet them during a vigil which the association will hold at Kamuzu Palace gates in Lilongwe from March 6 to 8 2019.

But Apam’s decision has irked some pwas who have formed a splinter association called Poor and Concerned People with Albinism (PACPWA). It is unclear if the splinter group is registered.

PACPWA is against Apam’s refusal to meet Mutharika today, saying the association has taken a stand which is militant.


PACPWA Wednesday released a statement signed by its chairperson Francis Masambuka and Secretary General Ellen Khonje, saying they would meet Mutharika.

“We positively respond to calls by the Head of State, the government, all interested and well-meaning groups for engagement. We write to submit our willingness to attend the meeting with the State President scheduled for February 28,’’ reads part of the press release.

The group also wants to hold a solidarity march in Lilongwe on March 1 2019 and prayers at Comesa Hall on March 3 2019.

Apam President, Overstone Kondowe, said he could not comment on issues related to other organisations.

“We are tired of any kind of discussions. We have ever had three discussions since 2014 with State House. We don’t think this meeting is good for us. Maybe other stakeholders, who have had no discussions with the State President, are very free to do so,” he said.

Kondowe said Masambuka was a member of Apam until last week when a certain politician invited a group of pwas to a meeting and gave them money to rebel against the mother body and plan their own vigils.

“Masambuka has been the chair of Apam, manning Blantyre, until last week when we heard that he went to attend a gathering that was called by a certain politician… so that they vote against their mother organisation and form their own organisation to speak against Apam,” he said.

He said Apam follows procedures

“Our constitution is very clear as to who speaks on behalf of the membership. If they go there, they may not discuss anything about the association. They can discuss other issues related to persons with albinism and that is not bad at all to us,” he said.

But Masambuka said he has formed the organisation to fight for the plight of poor Malawians. He brushed off allegations that they have been bribed.

“The meeting with the politician is a separate issue. The politician accepted to meet with us but it should not be an issue of money because we are not talking about money that our colleagues that side also received,” he said.

Presidential Press Secretary, Mgeme Kalilani, has confirmed that Mutharika will meet PACPWA members today.

Meanwhile, the government, through Secretary for Education, Science and Technology, Justin Saidi, has written a memorandum dated February 21 2019 advising all education divisional managers to reallocate all students with albinism from district day secondary and community day secondary schools that do not have boarding facilities to schools with boarding facilities as boarders.

Apam is frustrated by the government’s promises that it is doing something to end the attacks while the heinous acts continue with three people killed and more attacked in the last two months, translating to 24 killings and over 160 murders. There are an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 pwas in Malawi.

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