By Deogratias Mmana
Association for Persons with Albinism (Apam) is asking the government to disburse K700 million which was approved by Parliament in June for the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) and construction of houses for persons with albinism (PWA).
With about three months left before the end of 2021/22 Financial Year, the government is yet to disbursed K300 million for NAP implementation and K400 million for the construction of houses for people with albinism.
“We are greatly concerned with the delay to release the funds to implement this National Action Plan in the current financial year. Since Parliament passed the National Budget in June this year, as we are speaking, no funds have been released to all stakeholders involved in the implementation of various interventions under the National Action Plan,” said Apam president Young Muhamba.
He was speaking at a news conference in Lilongwe on Friday. The press conference was addressing “the deplorable human rights situation of persons with albinism in Malawi.”
Apam’s partners- Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation and Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre attended the press conference.
Muhamba doubted whether the funds would be disbursed when there are only three months left before the closure of the financial year.
“This brings fear to the utilisation of the funds allocated for the National Action Plan this fiscal year. We demand accountability and transparency on the management of these funds as many persons with albinism are suffering while such funds are being kept by the government without concrete and credible explanations,” Muhamba said.
He demanded the release of the funds for the NAP activities.
CHRR Executive Director Michael Kaiyatsa said the government has been slow in the implementation of the NAP which started in 2018 and is ending next year.
“Six months after the passing of the budget no disbursement has been made. NAP has a four-year implementation from 2018 and is ending next year. By now the implementation should have been successful but it has a lot of challenges. It is not the first time that we have complained about the delayed release of funds. There is no improvement,” Kaiyatsa said.
Principal Disability Programmes Officer in the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare who is also responsible for the implementation of the NAP, Grace Massah did not respond to our questionnaire on the funds.
But earlier this year, Massah admitted that delayed disbursement of funds was negatively affecting the implantation of activities.
During the press conference, Apam also expressed concern over the reemergence of attacks, abductions, killings and exhumation of bodies of people with albinism.
Apam also said there is deplorable health service provision to people with albinism citing the unavailability of sunscreen lotion in government health facilities and the absence of mobile clinics for eyesight assessment in rural areas.
Apam also cried foul over what it described as defective and delayed justice as only about 30 percent out of 197 cases have been concluded by the justice system.