By Sarah Munthali & Linda Likomwa, MANA
Traditional leaders in Mchinji have promised to ensure that people with albinism are well protected in their communities.
The traditional leaders made the pledge when the Department of Civic Education held an interface meeting with them at Traditional Authority (T/A) Kapondo and Mduwa Headquarters in the district on Saturday.
In his remarks, T/A Kapondo said he has put in place measures to ensure that people with albinism especially school going children are protected at school and at home.
“I am working with my village headmen and community policing in my area to ensure that people with albinism are protected in their homes.
I have told them to ensure that parents and guardians report any suspicious activities around albinos,” he said.
T/A Mduwa called on the Department of Civic Education to organise special meetings with traditional doctors to sensitise them on the need to protect people with albinism.
“We know some people abduct and kill people with albinism because of the advice they get from these witch doctors, that they will get rich once they sell albino bones,” he said.
TA Mduwa said he would ensure that all people who engage in albino abductions are reported to police.
He however called on speedy prosecution of all culprits, saying most cases concerning albino attacks take time.
Speaking at the function Principal Secretary in the department, Ivy Luhanga said government is concerned with abductions and killings of people with albinism.
“We are working with ministry of gender, district councils, police and other stakeholders to curb this malpractice, we will be going around in all the districts where there have been these attacks to raise awareness,” she said.
Luhanga said the department is conducting meetings with chiefs and religious leaders because culprits who attack albinos reside within the communities.
“We give them our concerns and what government is doing. The chiefs have also raised their concerns, some of which are concerns for courts to speed up cases. As government we will rely on the same and relay the message to institutions concerned,” she said.
She said officials from her department will visit other districts to conduct similar awareness meetings.
In related development, Chiradzulu District Commissioner, Reinghard Chavula has said the district council is set to host the 2019 National Albinism Awareness Day on Thursday June 27.
Speaking in an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Monday, Chavula said preparations for the day were at an advanced stage by the district task force team considering that they started the preparations way back and that the venue is now set.
Chavula added that the district is privileged to host the event despite not registering any case of killing, abduction and abuses of persons with albinism.
She said the district council will continue with awareness campaigns to sensitize people on how to protect and take care of persons with albinism to prevent all the atrocities.
Chavula said the theme: ‘Still standing strong,’ gives courage to persons with albinism to remain strong despite being traumatised by what was happening to them in the country.
Chiradzulu District Association of Persons with Albinism (APAM) Secretary, Horace Chibwana said despite all the abuses inflicted on people with albinism, the district was spared because of the good working relationship among different partners.
The awareness day will be held at St. Michael’s Primary School ground and will start with a parade led by the Malawi Police Service Brass Band.