STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY PROFESSOR ARTHUR PETER MUTHARIKA DURING THE SWEARING-IN CEREMONY FOR THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ON THE ATTACKS, ABDUCTIONS AND KILLINGS OF PERSONS WITH ALBINISM
11th MARCH 2019
We have witnessed members of the Commission of Inquiry taking their oaths of office this afternoon. The objective of this Commission is to establish the causes and circumstances leading to the attacks, abductions and killings of persons with albinism in this country. The law requires that they appointed members of the commission take an oath of office before they can start discharging their duties.
I appointed this nine-member Commission of Inquiry five days ago. It is chaired by Justice Richard Chinangwa, SC Retired. The appointment of the Commission became necessary because Malawians need to know the causes and circumstances of the attacks, abductions and killings. I expect this Commission to engage and summon all stakeholders informing this matter.
This Commission is only one of the several measures my Government is taking to end the plight of the people with albinism. Our ultimate objective is to end this barbaric practice and end their suffering. As a leader, I believe in solution-driven leadership. We need to be a solution-oriented society – and that is the only way we can move forward as a country.
Let us be a nation that distinguishes reacting from responding to a problem. In reacting to a situation, we stop at venting our anger, frustrations and unhappy feelings about a situation. But in responding to a situation, we soberly determine the causes and seek the solution to that situation.
The problem in this country is that we insist on finding someone to blame instead of finding the solution to the problem. We must stop this myopic and idiotic thinking. Let me appeal to all Malawians with albinism that we need to soberly cooperate with the Commission in order to find a lasting solution in addition to the measures we are implementing.
Let me appeal to those who may have relevant information pertaining to the attacks, abductions and killings of persons with albinism to come forward and assist the Commission. But let me also warn the Commission to watch out for people who may be paid and manipulated in order to provide misleading information. This happened in the Commission of Inquiry on the death of Chasowa where a police officer was paid money in order to implicate some people.
I don’t want anything like that happening in this Inquiry. Don’t allow anyone to manipulate the process. Therefore, we expect you to critically interrogate every informer in order to sift myth from reality, and truth from lies. In the end, Malawians expect nothing, and nothing but the truth from you.
As a Commission, you are the last guardians of truth on this delicate matter. We expect you to rise above speculation and political manipulation.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Make no mistakes – there are politicians who are interested in making gains out of the plight of the persons with albinism. This explains the irrational pattern of events we have seen in the past few weeks.
First, Reverend Lazarus Chakwera suggested to Malawians that he knows who is abducting and killing persons with albinism. This statement is on record for history to remember. But this politician said he wants to be voted into power first in order to end the suffering of our brothers and sisters, our mothers, fathers and children with albinism.
Why not give the information now so that we can stop the suffering of our brothers and sisters with albinism? Obviously, this man Chakwera is a liar and an opportunist. He has no solution to the suffering of people living with albinism.
Secondly, we have heard from credible sources that Dr. Soulos Chilima is funding APAM in order to engage in anti-Government activities. Chilima’s wishful dream is to distabilise my Government and hopes to come into power through the backdoor by using people with albinism.
We now have witnesses who are testifying that one UTM member, Mr. Bon Kalindo, connived with one prisoner in order to create a recording that formulates an impression that I was involved in the events we are complaining about. This malicious recording was circulated on social media with that malicious intent.
Thirdly, we have seen APAM behaving very irrationally and suspiciously. Instead of joining Government to find solutions for their people, APAM has chosen to work with the Opposition to fight Government. APAM is now behaving like a political militant organisation.
As this country is my witness, I invited APAM to dialogue and they rudely refused. I proceeded to invite those persons with albinism of better understanding and they came.
Next, the same APAM who rudely refused to meet me started demanding that they want to camp a vigil at State House in order to meet me. To our surprise, Mr. Timothy Mtambo and Mr. Charles Kajoloweka took over the show only to abandon their people with albinism stranded in the rain, without food, without water, without shelter and without transport.
As far as we are concerned, this inhuman and reckless violation of the rights of the people with albinism is nothing but criminal. It took the same Government they are fighting to provide food, water and accommodation at MIM before arranging for their transport to take them back home.
The APAM leadership went to the extent of blocking roads for innocent citizens and attacking police officers who were on duty. This criminal behaviour is unacceptable.
The motive of their political masters who are paying and manipulating Mr. Khondowe was to provoke Government to arrest them so that they could trigger public anti-Government demonstrations. This plot has obviously failed.
Let me use this opportunity to appeal to all Malawians. Let us stop politicizing the unfortunate, painful and gruesome situation of the persons with albinism. Let us stop criminal civil societies from exploiting the pain and suffering of people with albinism to gain political scores. People with albinism are humans and they must be treated as humans. Let us not allow anyone to dehuminise them into objects of political propaganda.
What we need is to stop the gruesome murders and abductions once and for all. People living with albinism should not live in fear in their own country and communities.
What we need is to unite and confront the barbaric acts against albinism and not encouraging the abductions and killings for political milage. And I repeat, no politician should encourage the murders and abductions in order to make albinism a campaign agenda.
The institution of this Commission of Inquiry is a decisive step towards defending the lives and rights of people with albinism. Let us unite to fight this evil. I finally urge all of us to love our fellow Malawians. People with albinism are our brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, fathers and mothers. Let us be our brother’s keeper. They too were created by God, and created in the image of God like us all.
I am looking forward to the Report to be on my table soon. Good luck to all members of the Commission.
Thank you very much for your attention