Former president, Bakili Muluzi, has condemned the spate of killings of people with albinism describing the acts as inhuman and unimaginable.
In a statement released yesterday, Muluzi said the reports profiled in international media have dented the country’s image on the global scene and he appealed for the nation to join hands to end the vice.
“Of course our worry as a country is not just about the embarrassment, the question of our morality as a society. At the moment, persons with albinism continue to be hunted like animals and yet they are human beings just like all of us. The sad part of it is that they are being hunted, brutally killed and maimed by fellow human beings and Malawians for that matter,” the statement reads.
The former head of state said the country needs to put even more efforts to completely end the killings.
“Quite disturbing are reports that those involved in these heinous crimes live within our communities. The question is what have we done in order to expose them? This is a calamity as it has exceeded any levels experienced elsewhere on the globe. As a matter of urgency it requires all of us not only to condemn but offer pragmatic solutions to end it,” Muluzi said.
He called for aggressive campaign against these acts and discrediting of all myths that are associated with persons with albinism.
“We also need to review our laws and fill the gaps so that our courts are not unfairly accused of meting out what are perceived by society to be weak sentences to convicts. On a rather positive note, I am reliably informed that there are some lawyers in the country that are ready to privately prosecute such cases pro bono,” reads the statement.
Meanwhile, Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda has issued a directive stopping all lower grade magistrates from handling cases of abductions and killings of people with albinism.
According to the circular which has been distributed to courts across the country in the past two weeks, magistrates from the grade of senior magistrates to Judges are now the only judicial officers mandated to handle any kind of case related to albino abduction or killing.
The directive comes f o llowing complaints from some people that the courts have been leniently sentencing the perpetrators.
In an interview yesterday, Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula said the decision has been made to ensure that magistrates handling such cases are those with stiff sentencing jurisdictions.
“Third grade, second grade and fir s t grade magistrates’ do not have much jurisdiction in terms of sentencing convicts. People have expressed their dissatisfaction or concern over the meting out of sentences for the people who have been found guilty of the offences in question. So, the circular has been issued to ensure that courts with higher jurisdiction are handling cases to do with abductions and killings of people with albinism,” Mvula said.
As it stands 18 persons with albinism have been killed, 14 kidnapped, three missing and 28 graves tampered with.