Muslims in Malawi are strongly accusing the country’s state president Bingu wa Mutharika as the one wholly responsible for the failure of this year’s Islamic annual gathering known by an Arabic word, Ijtima.
Information reaching Nyasa Times indicates that the National organizing committee for the gathering had planned to hold the Ijtima early September but the plans were shelved after Mutharika pledged to fund the three-day gathering to the tune of MK6,000,000.00.
Impeccable sources told Nyasa Timesthat Mutharika had made the pledge to the members of the newly elected committee for Muslims Association of Malawi which is led by the newly elected chairperson Sheikh Idriss Muhammad who has pledged to work with the DPP government come rain or sunshine.
But the delays by Mutharika for honor the pledge has forced the Muslims to announce the postponement of the Ijtima.
Executive Director for the MAM sheikh Salmin Omar Idruss said in press statement aired on both Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and Radio Islam that the postponement was because of lack of funds.
But an official of the national Ijtima committee later disputed this saying the committee had already started collecting money on its own for the event when postponement was being announced.
He said the donations were coming in and that they had already paid about MK30,000 to Blantyre City Council for booking Njamba Freedom Park which chosen to be the venue for the meeting.
Concerned with the political developments that have soiled this year’s Ijtima, Chairperson of the Supreme Council of Majlis Ulama in Malawi, a grouping of the highly learned Muslims clerics, Sheik Dr Imran Sheriff Mohammed say they are planning to take over from MAM the responsibility of organizing the Ijtima.
Meanwhile, some of those who made their donation are demanding the refund of their money as hopes for holding the function this year are fading.