Malawi Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi has come under fire for downplaying the killings of people with albinism in the country, saying "there is no need to complain because the albinos are being killed by their relatives."
The remarks have been strongly blasted by the opposition, the Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM), Amnesty International and various sectors of the society.
Earlier this month, APAM requested the Malawi government to allow its members to seek asylum in any country outside Malawi in the wake of continuous killings and attacks since 2015.
APAM also threatened to take to the streets on March 3 in protest against the killings and to force President Peter Mutharika to act on the heinous acts. But in response, Minister of Homeland Security Dausi said at a press briefing in Lilongwe on Tuesday that it would be irrelevant for albinos to seek asylum outside Malawi or to march to the State House because the evil acts are being perpetrated within their homesteads and by their relatives.
With four killings and abductions of people with albinism recorded so far this year, these remarks have sent the opposition, the APAM and Amnesty International fuming.
"Careless public statements made by government on a press conference clearly demonstrate lack of seriousness in fulfilling duties and responsibility to protect persons with albinism," wrote APAM President Overstone Kondowe in a statement on Wednesday.
APAM has asked the government to hire foreign investigators on the matter.
Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has also faulted the minister on his remarks, describing them "shocking, disgraceful and outrageous."
The minister must apologize to the president of APAM and all people with albinism in Malawi over the outrageous statements he uttered, according to MCP's statement released Thursday.
At least 23 people with albinism, including women and children, have been killed in Malawi since 2015 while at least 10 albinos are still missing.
Thousands of people with albinism are at high risk of abduction and killings in Malawi, where their body parts are sold for witchcraft. Some believe their body parts can bring good luck and wealth.