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Social Musings: A million in the flesh

The right to life is a constitutional right of every Malawian and such it is provided for in our Constitution. “Every person has the right to life and no person shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life,” reads article 16 of our Constitution in part.

Unfortunately, we are living in a world where other people believe that they have the final say over another person’s right to life. The escalating killings of people living with albinism is an indication of a poisonous evil residing among us. Some people out there believe their life is so valuable they can kill another soul to ‘enrich’ themselves.

Are we really a nation that believe in superstition for material gains in this 21st century? I reckoned it had become obvious enough that wealth creation is supposed t o be exploited through entrepreneurship, hard work and of course, technology.

For starters, people with albinism are like everyone else; their only challenge is their lack of the pigment melanin in their hair, skin and eyes.

It is the lack of that pigment that makes them slightly different in appearance and sensitivity from the majority.

People with albinism already have enough to worry about when it comes to their general wellbeing and adding to that agony by raping, hacking and killing them in the name of some dark ambitions of a prosperous life is nothing but macabre.

Recently, a certain phrase has been coined and is going around like a common joke when it is simply a barbaric and tasteless cliché – akuti mita ya moyo iyo. This phrase is now been thrown around every time a person with albinism is spotted passing by. It means‘ there is a million kwacha in the flesh’ and it is citizens who profess to be God-fearing who are throwing this phrase around carelessly.

Things have become so bad that people with albinism are breaking into a sprint towards their homes immediately after they alight from minibuses because they fear for their lives. The sad part is most people who watch such scenarios find it amusing and will break out laughing. This is the type of mentality we have as citizens – mediocre.

The root of our escalating problems is that we like to detach ourselves from responsibility and problem solving of any type. At this point, we think only the killers carry the responsibility to bring the killings to a halt yet we go around chanting mita ya moyo iyo; perpetuating violence and discrimination in the process.

We laugh when a person with albinism spend his life running to safety when we are freely walking about and we cannot resonate with the fear this person is living in and how lonely and painful such a life must be.

There is another notion that has come up in the midst of these killings; it claims that in Malawi, there is never a funeral for a person living with albinism because none of them die of natural causes that allow for a decent funeral.

Last year, about 11 murders of people with albinism were recorded. This year six people living with albinism have been murdered. This is on top of those that have been abducted.

We all need to come together and fight these barbaric acts. It is selfish to leave the matter only in the hands of government and police alone just as it is selfish for someone to murder another human being to use their body parts for charms. People caught engaging in such acts should be given swift and stiff punishment so that others are discouraged from such heinous acts.

People living with albinism have their rights and freedoms just like everyone else including the right to get an education and the right to be protected.

It is sad that these killings have made people living with albinism prisoners of fear in their own communities; looking over their shoulders, trusting nobody and hiding from the world.

Let us all add our voices in condemning these killings and where we can add our “actions” in fighting these cruel acts as well as in advocating for the rights of people living with albinism in our communities and in the country at large. People living with albinism can contribute to the development of the country just like everyone else and should be given the opportunity to realise their full potential without fear.

Forget mita ya moyo. Palibe zimenezo.

I rest my case.

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