National Coordinator for APAM, Boniface Massi said this on Monday in Lilongwe in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) ahead of Malawi’s commemoration of International Albinism Day on June 23, 2018 at Mwenilondo Primary School ground in Karonga.
He said government should embrace persons with albinism by appointing them into decision making positions in political structures and civil service if they are to play a meaningful role in their societies.
He suggested that a deliberate policy should be put in place so that persons with albinism are considered for holding different and influential positions as one way of uplifting their status in society.
“We want to make a difference in our society by serving our communities in various political positions. We have been sidelined for a long time and we need to change the way we do things politically and provide political landscape that supports us fully,” APAM National Coordinator stated.
Massi singled out that apart from the political arena, government should view persons with albinism as capable and they could contribute effectively and efficiently to the deliverance of good services within the civil services ranks.
“If we are talking of promotion and protection of the rights of persons with albinism in the country with the view of ending issues of discrimination, stigma and abuse, the two issues should be carefully examined and a way forward should be made,” he pointed out.
The Coordinator cited countries like Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa that have made progress in appointing persons with albinisms in top government, parastatals, making them board chairs or members and electing them as Members of Parliament.
“I still believe as a country, we can learn more from these three countries on how they managed to do it for the benefit of the country. We want what has been done there to replicate in this country too,” Massa suggested.
He called on government to set up a national committee to work on the implementation of these suggestions for the betterment of persons with albinism in the country.
Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Dr Jean Kalilani said government is committed to ensure that persons with albinism are involved in all national and societal development activities.
She disclosed that government will launch the National Plan of Action for Person’s with Albinism in the country during the commemoration of the day which will help address the challenges and bottlenecks being faced by them.
“We are appealing to every Malawian to break the barriers to inclusion, be responsible and end discrimination and attacks on persons with albinism. It is possible to have a country where we all live in harmony without any section of the population living in fear of being attacked. It is possible to put our country on the map with successful stories on albinism. Let us make our country shine,” Kalilani remarked.
UN Women Representative to Malawi, Clara Anyangwe said UN is hopeful that the new plan would be implemented to accommodate all critical gaps and address the existing social and economic challenges frequently faced by persons with albinism.
She added that UN underlines the importance of enhancing the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with albinism.
Anyangwe said UN recognizes the importance of first, increasing awareness and understanding of albinism to fight against discrimination and stigma in order to remove the barriers which are prevailing in many societies.
The International Albinism Awareness Day is commemorated on June 13 every year.