By Morton Sibale
Lilongwe, July 23, Mana; Minister of Gender, Children, Community Development and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliyati has disclosed that government has set aside K3.1 Billion Kwacha to help in the protection of persons with albinism, who have been victims of gruesome attacks and murder in Malawi in recent years.
Kaliyati was speaking on Wednesday when she presented a guitar to Levison Saidi, a boy with albinism at Traditional Authority Mazengera in Lilongwe Mpenu Constituency.
The guitar was donated by UTM partners in diaspora after being impressed by Saidi’s talent when Saidi performed with a locally made guitar at one of the campaign rallies held by UTM president and State Vice President Saulos Chilima.
In her speech, Kaliyati assured all persons with albinism that they should stop living in fear as the current government (led by President Lazarus Chakwera) has put in place measures to help, support and protect them.
“Our ministry is assuring persons with albinism that we will protect them. We have set aside over K3.1 Billion which will go towards many areas aimed at protecting and empowering people with albinism,” Kaliyati said.
According to Kaliyati, that money will among other things go towards mobilization of security, educational support to ensure that children with albinism are being accommodated in boarding schools, as well as supporting court cases when required.
“We are working with the police and the Ministry of Justice (and Constitutional Affairs) to protect our people and ensure that perpetrators of attacks on persons with albinism are adquately dealt with.
“Currently, we are trying to accelerate 169 court cases that we have so that justice should prevail as soon as possible,” said Kaliyati.
Commenting on the remarks, Association of Persons with Albinism (APAM) National Coordinator, Overstone Kondowe, expressed hope that the new administration will listen to the needs of his association with regards to the issue of security of people with albinism.
“As an association, we would like to have surveillance in all hotspots. We would also appreciate if government puts in place community security alarms connecting persons with albinism and law enforcers, instead of just whistles,” said Kondowe.
Attacks on people with albinism have been a recurrent issue in recent years with President Lazarus Chakwera promising during his campaign that he will put an end to the acts once voted into power.