Malawi Govt Offers Reward to Catch Attackers of People With Albinism

President Peter Mutharika has pledged that his government will pay a K5 million reward for any report leading to the arrest and prosecution of anyone hatching plans to abduct, maiming and kill Persons with Albinism (PWAs).

The Malawi leader disclosed this on Thursday at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe when he met a group of people with albinism calling itself Poor and Concerned People with Albinism (Pacpwa) – split with a splinter group of the Association of Persons Living with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) which declined to meet the President, choosing a vigil outside Kamuzu Palace from March 6 to 8 this year instead.

Mutharika also disclosed during the meeting that government has procured 3 000 personal security alarms from Britain to be distributed to persons with albinism.

Since November 2014, the number of reported crimes against people with albinism in Malawi has risen to more 150 cases, including at least 23 murders and seven attempted murders, according to public records.

There is a myth that PWAs are targeted for their body parts for rituals some people believe bring magical powers, including those that can make one rich.

But the Society of Medical Doctors has dismissed such beliefs, stating that PWAs are no different from any other person apart from the skin, hair and eye colour.

Reads a flyer from the doctors condemning the attacks: “Albinism is an inherited condition characterised by lack of ability to produce a pigment that affects vision, hair and skin known as melanin. People with more melanin are darker than those with less melanin.”