Interim chairperson of a the newly-formed Interfaith Forum for Peace, Justice and Dialogue evangelical Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe will get the body registered despite embarrassing withdrawals from some clergy.
Bvumbwe, who is also board chairman for Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Meray, said the membership was for individual church leaders not institutional church-based.
“I have not seen the letters of the withdrawals but we will go ahead to register the Forum,” said Bvumbwe.
Three influential clerics; Apostle Stanley Ndovie, the president of Living Waters Church, Seventh Day Adventist president Frackson Kuyama and Malawi Assemblies of God president Edward Chitsonga have withdrawn from the Forum.
But Bvumbwe dismissed assertions that the Forum has been established to counter the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), saying the group was formed to complement existing efforts by other organisations in peace and dialogue and that it will work with objectivity to serve interests of Malawians.
“The Forum has not been established as a vote of confidence in PAC but we think PAC can do better,” said the quasi-religious body former chairperson.
Political analyst Mustafa Hussein said the withdrawals by some of the clergy from the Forum is a sign of lack of credibility of the Forum.
Besides Bvumbwe, the group also comprises the Reverend Timothy Nyasulu as vice-chairperson and Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire Bishop Brighton Vita Malawi as secretary.
Political and governance commentators have described the outfit as comprising “mercenaries of government”; hence, casting doubt on their objectivity in serving the best interests of Malawians at large.
Bvumbwe said the fact that some of the members of the group sit on boards of different parastatals and were appointed by President Peter Mutharika does not mean they will be biased towards government.
He said they can still advise objectively and support government where it needs to be supported or admonish where it is needed.
Bvumbwe said the post-May 21 Tripartite Elections events compelled the formation of the grouping.
Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) vice-chairperson Gift Trapence said the formation of the Forum could be as a tactic by government to shrink civic space by forming institutions that are composed of their supporters, an assertion dismissed by Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology Mark Botomani, who is also the official government spokesperson.
The forum also includes CCAP Blantyre Synod general secretary the Reverend Alex Maulana who is Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) board chairperson, Blantyre Synod moderator the Reverend Masauko Mbolembole who is Malawi Posts Corporation (MPC) board chairperson, Apostle Madalitso Mbewe who once chaired Central Region Water Board (CRWB), the Reverend Howard Matiya Nkhoma who chaired Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) and Bishop Charles Tsukuluza who chaired Lilongwe Water Board (LWB). Malasa was board chairperson for National Herbarium and Botanical Gardens of Malawi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :