To hell with religious aggression in Malawi

The Easter festive was here and is gone, once again. Many people may have taken it for granted, but generally this should be a period for greater reflections. This was a time for reflection about unconditional love, about treating each other politely, and of course, spiritual nourishment.Loose cannon

The last few days, however, have seen everything contrary to the congruency of the Easter spirit commonly known to everyone. Malawi as a nation has failed to live up to the spirit of the Easter festive season and to the long-held accolade of a ‘God-fearing nation’.

We have failed, sadly, to learn from the example of Jesus, who was tolerant to all his opponents. He died for everyone and even forgave those who hanged Him. Instead of emulating His wonderful and admirable example of love, we have waged religious fights amongst ourselves, calling pastors fake, crooks, liars and all those bad names.

We have questioned some of the ‘prophets’’ practices; their wealth; and their morals. In short, there seems to be intolerance to religious pluralism. Supporters of different political parties have taken it to the social media platforms to make disparaging statements against different men of God and their practices.

Actually, the whole Head of State went to town the other day lambasting leader and founder of the Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) of Nigeria, Prophet TB Joshua, for what the President described as his “crookedness”.

The President seemed not to have liked TB Joshua for his ‘2016 prophecy’ where he said: “End of February to April this year, peculiar months for Southern Africa,” which many construed as ‘death’ of aging Presidents Mutharika and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

 

On March 13, 2016, President Mutharika attacked TB Joshua and his prophecy: “I’m told there is a man in Nigeria called Joshua and he is saying that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and Peter Mutharika will die before April 1. Let me tell you, Joshua, you will fail. What you did in 2012 will not happen again this year.”

I am a devout Catholic but I know many Malawians follow TB Joshua’s sermons closely. Many have actually visited his synagogue in Lagos in search for spiritual redemption. As a leader of all Malawians, the President should have desisted from taking to the public podium to despise the famous televangelist and spiritual leader. Some things are better left unsaid!

Torelance

One of the most important aspects of human rights is the respect and tolerance, which society must show towards the religious beliefs of other people. Actually, the Republican Constitution provides for the right to freedom of religion under the Bill of Rights.

Malawians are renowned for religious tolerance since time immemorial. Whether Evangelical, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Catholic, Muslim, Atheist, Polytheist, secular humanist or Napuse-napuse, we must all believe in the power of peaceful co-existence. As Malawians, we need to set the bar high in as far as religious tolerance is concerned.  Everyone should find their beliefs and practices and those of others acceptable. We must promote a culture of diversity of religious beliefs, view and values.

Emotional outbursts based on religious beliefs only tend to heighten anxieties whose repercussions may be catastrophic. We have history to learn from.

Malawi faces a lot of challenges as a nation. A larger section of the population is poor and hungry. Pupils learn under trees for lack of classrooms; hospitals have no medicine and other relevant supplies; the road infrastructure is in a sorry state and, generally, the economy is on a downturn.

As a nation, we need self-introspection to overcome these challenges. We are sitting on a ticking time bomb and we cannot afford to waste any more time by engaging in senseless religious fights.

Not all is lost; we can resurrect as a nation by despising all forms of hatred based on religion, politics, ethnicity, among others, and coming together as one people to determine our common destiny. Musicians and all artists must use their talent to preach love and unity among the people; and politicians, who are generally viewed as people with good knowledge and a high degree of ability, must galvanize the masses to engage in more meaningful developmental activities than spending time on trivialities.

We must live by the values of our National Anthem; we should not be a nation filled with envy. We must resist the temptation to depart from the old-age state of fantastic religious diversity that has distinguished us from other ‘religious’ or ‘secular’ states just because we want to advance some selfish political interests.

“This is a country in which someone can sit down and create a story that so and so has killed his wife and spread the rumour on social media… and because most of us don’t have the wisdom to question whatever we read on social media, we have made Facebook and WhatsApp our Bible.” -President Prof. Peter Mutharika.

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14 thoughts on “To hell with religious aggression in Malawi”

  1. Emeritus says:

    Tb joshua did not say malawian president would die, find time To watch Emanuel tv though It’s not Your funny but to get direct speech from joshua. If he declared the prophecy on public as You have said,did he mention the name of Mr president of Malawi that he would go to the burial ground? Now,where did the president get this information? I understand the religious readers to the president feed him with lies. I dont think the president takes time to watch the prophet’s tv. He can only get the second hand information. If we are blank of spiritual issues better comment nothing and concentrate on polotics and live issues of God alone.

  2. Moyenda Mutharika says:

    Is Malawi the only country in Southern Africa? Kodi Upresidenti omvetsa chisoniwu unadzela pati? This Criminal is a huge Disgrace to Statehouse

  3. rod says:

    Signs Of The Times

  4. Moka says:

    I think the president was not wrong to criticise on public because he also prophesise on public,so he too was right to answer on public.

  5. Nyani wa ku Mwananyani says:

    Malawi is actually overflowing with religious tolerance.
    The only big blemish was from the 1960’s when Kamuzu and MCP persecuted, openly, the Jehova Witness sect. The hatred for the JWs by Kamuzu was palpable even in his public speeches, in English (even if you didn’t understand the language), and translated by John Tembo et al.
    Arguably, tolerance is what has led to the proliferation of the modern Malawian (or African) “free range” prophets – who are NOT really prophets, but evangelists. They do NOT foresee anything; they don’t even explain themselves when they “forecast” (at least palm readers tell you about your hand markings!) The so-called prophets are thriving only on our ignorance; mainly from our lack of formal education.
    Yes, the so-called prophets need to be called out, for outrageous claims. And there is need to discredit them; in the open too. Malawians, we are so gullible!
    The claim the Malawi is a god fearing nation sounds sweet to many people; but it has no basis in the way we live our lives. May be it was a sales job for tourism, but it is a failed slogan, no less. Silogani yachabe, yopanda nchito baasi (worthless and empty slogan)
    What kind of a god fearing people
    -go around kidnapping and killing albinos, like we do?
    -are proud of mob justice, including death by beating and burning?
    -how about the rapes of women and girls?
    -how about the corruption that is rampant at small scale, and at all levels in government and corporations?
    -how about the misogyny almost everywhere (za jenda)?

    We are not the only country with these ills, and so we do not have a monopoly in these areas of social injustice. But for goodness sake, let us not claim to be a god fearing nation.

  6. Joj says:

    By your own argument, in the spirit of tolerance, pluralism and diversity of views and beliefs, the said men of God should expect criticism ie not expect everyone to toe their line.Jesus had his own critics too!

  7. spectator says:

    Mmmm mwalembatu za nzeru spa baba

  8. Mapwevupwevu says:

    Hahaha! Tom, tchalitchi cha Napuse Napuse unachidziwira kuti? Unalowatu iwe!!!!!

    Anyway! Peter Mutharika has proved that TB Joshua is fake and shouldnt be feared!

    Get in touch tidzatsegule napuse apuse ku Ingii!

  9. Joseph says:

    Ok

  10. Chibalo says:

    Heeyy being a Catholic yourself, i have all the reasons to think that you are somehow biased as you did not deliberately tackle the fight that erupted in one of your churches in Lilongwe. Imagine, A Catholic fighting fellow Catholics.Why guys why?

    Your article fail short of substance boss.It does not bring out issues with passion and the ingredients befitting a good writer like yourself.

    But i have just liked the spirit behind your article.

  11. The Analyst says:

    O……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….O
    APM did not err to rebuke Joshua in public. In fact APM being president is the right person to speak such, because his voice is louder than other people’s.
    . . . And anybody should admire the courage APM displayed to rebuke Joshua when many people including presidents, fear him (Joshua). He may even be the first and only president to have done that.

    Zoona ndi zakuti . . .
    . . . These people who parade themselves in borrowed robes of prophets are simply lies we agreed to tell each other over and over again until we forget they are lies. However, some of us and people like APM did not agree to partake in this or forget that it’s a lie.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    People think that we shall be thrown into hell only for something we do but truth is doing nothing is itself something we can equally be punished for.
    . . . You see . . .
    “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
    . . . Thus, we have a religious duty to protest and speak out when falsehood pops out; failing which God will condemn us, not necessarily for the evil that others were engaged in; but because when evil was happening, we chose to remain neutral and keep quiet – nkumati Mulungu adzaweluza.
    . . . This is why even Jesus protested and acted angrily and violently towards those people who udulterated the place of worship.
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Simply put . . .
    . . . religious tolerance does not mean acceptable to lies and falsehood . . .
    . . . Let bit be known that . . .
    “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” – Dante Alighieri
    O………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………O

  12. Kapemphereni says:

    Kodi pitalayo mkumuona kuti mutu mwake muli nzeru ? Uyo nde mbuzi yeniyeni saganiza iye bola akudya chitsiru kumalimbana ndi Athu A Mulungu iye akuona ngati kuti sazafa kodi pitala nde ka nyama kanji.

  13. Omex70 says:

    That’s true! Co-existence is needed. But this does not mean that people should not speak out when they see satanic like traits in some so called men of God. I know who you are trying to defend in the whole article though you have avoided at all cost to mention his name! You are looking for miracle money.

  14. Nkula says:

    Nice piece Thom. I was actually perplexed last Monday night that a pastor that I hold in high esteem, Pastor Nick, at Channel For All Nations, had to go to town dressing down others – the type of holier-than-thou. Now if munthu wozindikira, wophunziranso can show such intolerance what about the fake, street, ignorant, myopic, uneducated, fanatical and fundamentalist pasotors we see around who just read the Bible without any reasoning do? My Malawi. Let’s respect one another’s belief whilst knowing that we also have short-falls. I rest my case

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