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Malawian legislator leads half-naked protests over albino killings

23 June 2016, 13:11Brian Ligomeka, News24 Correspondent

Lilongwe - A legislator from Malawi's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Bon Kalindo, on Thursday led a group of protesters who marched "half-naked" through the streets of the capital, Lilongwe.

The legislator, human rights activists and other concerned citizens were protesting against continued abductions and killings of people with albinism.

The protests came after at least 19 albinos have been killed in Malawi since 2014.

Kalindo announced that he would parade naked, but during the march, he simply wore small red shorts, a red vest, a red scarf and red cap.

The legislator, who was a popular stage and TV comedian, accused some unnamed politicians of being part of the albino hunters' syndicate, hence their failure to act decisively.

Contrary to the guidance by Amnesty International that life imprisonments were enough punishments for albino killers, Kalindo said those convicted should face the death penalty.

Strongest punishment 

"The heinous acts of these criminals need to be stopped immediately. If we want to prevent further murders, we should use the strongest punishment available to deter murder, and that is the death penalty," Kalindo told News24 in a telephone interview before the march.

He said if murderers were sentenced to death and executed, prospective ones would think twice before killing for fear of losing their own lives.

"The bottom line is simple. Vicious murderers should be killed to prevent them from murdering again. Let's accept the fact.  The death penalty as a deterrent and as a form of permanent incapacitation helps to prevent future crime," he observed.

But Malawi's information minister Patricia Kaliati recently ruled out the implementation of the death penalty against killers of people with albinism.

She said it was possible to mete out stiff punishment while respecting human rights.

"Life imprisonment is also a strong deterrent punishment," she said.

Malawi leader Peter Mutharika has also rebuffed calls for the implementation of death penalty.

While laws in Malawi provided for death penalties, the country's leaders have, since 1994, refused to sign death warrants.

- News 24


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