15 August 2020
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Tuesday, 24 March 2020 08:43

APAM calls for protection of PWA

Written by  Ireen Kayira
Simbota (second from left) with a woman who was attacked. Pic by Ireen Kayira, MANA Simbota (second from left) with a woman who was attacked. Pic by Ireen Kayira, MANA

Lilongwe, March 24, Mana: Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) has emphasised on the need to strengthen protection of persons with albinism as the country is approaching fresh presidential elections.

The remarks were made in Mzimba on Sunday when the association conducted awareness campaigns at Jenda Trading Centre in the district to business persons and churches among others.

The association also paid a visit to a woman with albinism, Tafwauli Ngoma, who was attacked in the district last month.

Speaking with Malawi News Agency (MANA) APAM President Ian Simbota said attacks of persons with albinism are rampant when the country is heading to polls as evident with the 2019 Tripartite Elections.

For that reason, Simbota said it is important that communities are aware of this so that they can be protected.

“As we are heading towards elections there are some politicians who believe that they can use body tissues of persons with albinism to win elections which is just an evil way of thinking,” he said.

He said because of such kinds of beliefs, persons with albinism are being murdered while some are losing their body parts.

He cited the case of Mzimba whereby an old woman’s toes were chopped off because of the same beliefs.

The United Nations Report says persons with albinism face an increase in attacks especially in the times when countries are having elections.

“In Malawi we are going to vote again and Zambia is also having elections and in the case of Mama Tafwauli Ngoma the suspects were arrested along the Malawi Zambia boarder that is directly connected to the same.

“Additionally this case happened after the court ruled that we will have fresh elections which only shows the vulnerability of persons with albinism during this period,” he said.

He, therefore, called upon government and other institutions to come in quickly in intensifying the protection of persons with albinism as early as possible.

Vice Vestry Chair for Jenda Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) Harry Phiri said the information came at the right time saying it will go far as the members will take it to other community members.

“Persons with albinism face challenges especially in rural areas due to their skin colour which makes them venerable to attacks and with the information given we hope things will be better,” said Phiri.

He, therefore, appealed to Malawians to refrain from beliefs that put persons with albinism at risk of being attacked saying they are just like anyone else.

“They also have a right to live just like anyone else and attacking them for their body parts is not fair. As such everyone should take part in protecting them in our communities,” he said.

However, Phiri expressed concern that these acts are still happening because punishment given to the offenders is not stiff enough.

He, therefore, appealed to the courts that the issue of punishment to such offenders should be put into consideration.

APAM’s awareness campaigns will also be conducted in other districts as well across the country.