International Organizations which are implementing various projects in Malawi have suspended their operations for fear of being mistaken for alleged blood suckers.
Nsanje North District Commissioner Gift Rapozo in an interview said Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) Action Aid and United Nations Children's arm, Unicef, have downed their tools for fear of losing their lives to mob justice.
The worrisome development has come in after a local leader, Don Chiyipira, 48, was brutally killed on September 28, 2017, on suspicion that he was a blood sucker.
However, Rapozo while condemning in strongest terms the recent mob justice incident where Village Head Chizinga of Traditional Authority Mlolo was stoned to death described the blood sucker rumours as baseless.
“This issue is giving us headache as we feel it will impact negatively on the livelihoods of people as International organizations that are implementing various projects in the area of Traditional Authority Mlolo have suspended their operations.
“International Organizations including Unicef, Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) and Action Aid have suspended their operations in the eastern part of the district and will only resume on condition that such issues are addressed,” confirmed Rapozo.
He said his office could not afford to lose developmental partners saying his office would work with the police and other relevant stakeholders to contain the situation by among other things bringing to book the perpetrators.
“What we know is that it is out rightly false that there are blood suckers here in Nsanje. We cannot stand and watch. We are geared to do something,” said Rapozo.
Rapozo said his office is yet to receive information which shows that someone has been sucked blood.
“Let me assure the people outside Nsanje and even those in the district that there are no blood suckers in the district. We have been investigating and engaging the communities but also other stakeholders on the issue, however there is no clear information that there are blood suckers in the district,” he said.
Rapozo revealed that the blood suckers’ false story is making the district’s communities live in fear and some Non -governmental organizations are withdrawing their interventions as they feel not secured.
He said the council was not just observing the rumours but had started devising measures to ensure that communities should not live in fear.
“We have started arguing against the false stories by engaging the communities and other stakeholders by giving them the right information on the issue. Let me assure the nation that Nsanje District has no such things, people should live freely,” said Nsanje District Commissioner.
Nsanje Police Officer In-charge, Assistant Commissioner, Maurice Makwinja emphasized that the blood sucking rumour is just a fabrication and he repeatedly said no one has had their blood sucked.
“We are arresting those who are coming with such false stories unless they give us real information. Two suspects in the murder of Village Head Chizinga who include GVH Mchacha James have been charged with circulation of false news likely to cause fear, alarm and murder.
Blood sucking myths are rife in the country’s southern districts including Mulanje and Nsanje where six people have lost their lives so far through mob justice over the same issue.