Head of the Catholic Church in Malawi, Archbishop Thomas Msusa, has urged all the churches in the country to triple their efforts in providing civic and voter education (CVE) to their faithful ahead of the Malawi’s sixth democratic elections on May 21 2019.
His Grace Msusa – who is also the head of the Archdiocese of Blantyre and chairperson of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi – observed that Malawi has reached a critical point when citizens need to decide their destiny through wise selection of the leaders.
The archbishop made the remarks during a high level meeting that was held at Msamba Pastoral Centre in Malawi’s Capital, Lilongwe, on Wednesday.
The meeting, which the Pastoral Commission and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) organised to brief faith leaders on emerging issues towards the polls, drew participants from the five religious mother bodies, which include ECM, Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi (QMAM), Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) and Malawi Council of Churches (MCM).
“We are not siding with any leader or political party. We are aligning ourselves with the people and as religious leaders we will guide them in choosing a leader with good qualities to transform their lives and this country,” he said.
Added Msusa: “We will denounce divisions and violence and continue to pray for peace anytime before, during and after the elections. We must build a country in which all people live in harmony and prosperity.”
He emphasised that the coming together of the top faith leaders demonstrates the unity and coexistence that all Malawians must emulate during the whole electoral period so that the incoming polls are smooth, free, fair and peaceful.
QMAM vice chairperson and publicity secretary, Sheikh Amir Jaafar Kawinga, said Malawians must build up on the country’s reputation as a peace-loving nation by conducting peaceful elections on 21 May 2019.
“Honestly, we Malawians, are already coexisting and tolerant of each other in many things. These elections should not divide or bring conflicts among us. Instead, they should help us build and consolidate our democracy,” emphasised Kawinga.
Reverend Charles Makata of EAM said his body will intensify prayers and encourage its believers to turn up in large numbers on the voting day to usher into office new good leaders.
The representatives of the religious institutions ended their meeting with the drawing of a 16-point statement, committing themselves to the implementation of their resolutions ahead, during and after the elections.
The faith leaders further committed themselves to to periodically address the nation on electoral related matters and call for the independence of Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation and Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority.
The statement also says the religious leaders should use their faith based radios and televisions to sensitive voters on qualities of a good leader.
Meanwhile, the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust executive director, Ollen Mwalubunju, has commended faith leaders for the direction they have taken as the countdown to the polls continues.
Mwalubunju said on Thursday that the successful holding of these elections will depend on concerted efforts of various stakeholders in mobilising registered voters to cast their ballots.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :