Peter Mutharika sets inquiry on persons with albinism attacks
By Peter Kanjere:
President Peter Mutharika has formed an eight-member commission of inquiry over the killing and abduction of persons with albinism (pwas).
Mutharika has formed the commission amid protests, at State House residence in Lilongwe, by Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) members and human rights activists.
A statement released by the Office of the President and Cabinet Thursday indicates that retired judge Robert Chinangwa is the chairperson of the commission, comprising Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe, Grace Massah, Abigail Dzimadzi, Paramount Chief Kawinga, George Jobe, Hilda Soko and Brenda Vokhiwa Kapenda.
The commission, whose appointment is with effect from March 5 2019, will submit a report to Mutharika on April 30 2019 over the killing of 24 pwas and attacks on over 160 people since 2014.
“The commission shall in accordance with the provisions of the [Commission of Inquiry] Act, and subject thereto, have power to consider, determine and inquire into all aspects related to the attacks, abductions and killings of persons with albinism,” the statement reads.Advertisement
Apam Deputy General Secretary, Ian Simbota, Thursday said he was yet to receive the press release announcing the appointment of the commission.
Mutharika has formed the commission a week after hosting Poor and Concerned Persons with Albinism (PACPWA) members in Lilongwe over their concerns. PACPWA broke away from Apam.
Meanwhile, Apam has dismissed allegations that the association has been compromised after accepting the government’s offer to accommodate the protesters at Malawi Institute of Management (MIM) in Lilongwe.
The group moved from State House to MIM where they are holding a vigil.
Apam President, Overstone Kondowe, said their members have a right to use their own taxes which they pay to the government
“Apam decided to stage its tents 100 metres away from the State House, so it was a request from the government that we either come to MIM so that we are able to provide social welfare of our membership,” he said
Kondowe said the vigil continues until Mutharika meets their demands.
Apam has given Mutharika 48 hours, from Wednesday, to return from the Northern Region to meet the group and other stakeholders.—Additional reporting by Audrey Kapalamula
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