The Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) has expressed fear that attacks on people with albinism will continue as the country approaches the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
In 2015, Ikponwosa Ero, who is United Nations’ (UN) first Human Rights Expert on Albinism, was quoted by Reuters as saying some politicians in Africa use body parts of people with albinism as charms to widen their chances of winning elections.
Ero said attacks on people with albinism were on the rise in 2015, linking the development to a growing demand from political hopefuls for body parts which are prized in black magic in the run-up to elections.
“Persons with albinism are among the most vulnerable persons in the region. I am deeply concerned at the highly disturbing pattern of [the] increase in [cases of] attacks when elections occur,” Ero was quoted as saying.
And now, Apam president Overstone Kondowe has said people with albinism are panicking due to increased cases of attacks on people with albinism as Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique prepare for national elections.
People in Zimbabwe will go to the polls on July 30 while Malawi and neighbouring Mozambique are expected to hold their national elections in May and October next year.
Kondowe said increased cases of abductions and killings of people with albinism in this period are worrisome, especially in the wake of what he described as a lukewarm approach by authorities to address the problem.
“The report by the UN expert on rights of people with albinism said there is a correlation between elections and attacks on people with albinism. As Malawi and its neighbours are conducting their elections, we are seeing an increase in the attacks and that is worrying us,” he said.
Kondowe has raised the concerns while the body of 12-year-old boy with albinism Joseph Kachingwe from Traditional Authority Jenala in Phalombe District remains missing.
So far, police have arrested eight people in connection with the missing of the boy.