Malawi religious leaders from different denominations who had an audience with President Peter Mutharika at Kamuzu palace in the capital Lilongwe on Thursday persuaded the Head of State to be focused in leading the nation to weather the storm of economic challenges and food crisis.
The meeting, which was held in camera, saw over 20 religious leaders from the Christian and Muslim communities share insights with the President
Episcopal Conference of Malawi Chairperson, Archbishop Thomas Msusa said as a church, they are concerned with the turmoil in the country and urged government to improve Malawians’ lives, mostly who are sleeping in empty stomachs and many lack essential basic needs.
His Grace Msusa of the Archdiocese of Blantyre of Catholic Church said he respects the President’s love for dialogue as displayed by his various meetings with different groups of society.
He pledged religious leaders’ support to government to develop Malawi.
Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malawi said the President has a duty to lead the country in the best way he can.
“We want to encourage you that God appointed you and he will be with you. Therefore, remain focused because your duty is to lead this nation during this critical moment,” said Bvumbwe.
In his remarks, the President said he expects support from the clergy as he discharges his duty of serving God’s people.
“As government, we expect support from religious leaders because we are all serving Gods people, I am thankfully to say that there is harmony between the church and government.
“We appreciate the role you take to help government in many ways as we share common social and spiritual service to the people of Malawi,” he said.
Mutharika said politics and religion are not in contradiction because “both church and State share the common duty of serving God’s children.”
He said he eexpecs the faith community’s support in a number of dimensions.
“First, constructive criticism. It is because I have taken this kindly that I have never answered back and I hasten to answer back against well-meaning voice of religious leaders. You and I are people sanctioned by God in different ways. If you support me and I support you, we will serve our God better.”
Mutharika said his government had set development programmes that would change the country for the better.
“We have the right vision, right policies and right programmes in place. We have taken the right steps in the last two years. We are turning a point towards a prosperous Malawi,” Mutharika said.
He said government was investing heavily in electricity generation, adding that the construction of the Kam’mwamba Coal-powered plant would start in the next five months and that soon the country would say goodbye to blackouts.
“Government is also happy with the support religious groups render in development projects that are taking place in the country,” he said.
Speaking on hunger and drought in the country, Mutharika said government had embarked on irrigation across the country to avert hunger that comes from the country’s over-reliance on rain fed agriculture.
He, however, stressed the need for food diversification and not only relying on maize.
Mutharika said the nation needed to embrace crops like soya beans, cow peas and groundnuts that could fetch the country a lot of money.
“There are plans by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and AHL Commodity Exchange to buy produce from farmers who are in cooperatives at a good price when sold abroad,” he said.
Mutharika then asked the religious leaders to join hands with government in developing the nation.
“You have been supportive when Malawians suffered during floods, drought and hunger. You have supported us when evil and misguided people went out and persecuted people with albinism,” Mutharika told the religious leaders.
“We must love each other. We must work together. We do not serve God by fighting and dividing His people, for He says in the Holy Quran 19 verse 97 that, ‘Those who believe and do good deeds-the Gracious God will create love in their hearts.’”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :