Catholic bishops in the country, under the umbrella of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), have said they have not and shall not support or endorse any candidate or political party but said the electorate should decide in conscience by turning to their 2018 16-page Pastoral Letter titled ‘A Call For A New Era In Malawi’ which they released last year.
The chairperson of ECM the Archbishop Thomas Msusa of Blantyre Archdiocese said the church leadership comprising vice-chairperson Bishop Martin Mtumbuka (Karonga Diocese), Archbishop Tarsizio Ziyaye (Lilongwe Archdiocese), bishops Ryan, Peter Musikuwa (Chikwawa) Montfort Stima (Mangochi), George Tambala (Zomba) and Dedza Diocese diocesan administrator John Chithonje expect the faithful to follow the Pastoral Letter guidance.
Msusa said the church printed more new copies of the 2018 Pastoral Letter for its faithful to read and be reminded of what they proclaimed .
Catholic bishops said Malawi needs a change of direction, lamenting that the hard-won democracy was not yielding the fruits people anticipated.
The Pastoral Letter observed that 54 years after independence, Malawians were still wallowing in poverty as few “exercise power and enjoy wealth at the expense of the majority”.
The bishops said: “We are of the opinion that Malawi, as a nation, needs a change of direction if we are to reverse the situation.”
The influential Catholic bishops say citizens are duty-bound to elect and put into positions of power people they trust to implement their pre-election promises or those who have demonstrated that they delivered on their promises while in previous leadership positions.
They also provide a list of what they consider to be qualities of a good leader, which they say include honesty, transformational leadership, selflessness, willingness to step down, above tribal/regional political interests and God-fearing.
While advocating change of mindset, the bishops warn that corrupt leadership is “propped up and kept in power by citizens who unjustly and selfishly enjoy the benefits of that leadership.”
The bishops want an era where truth, fairness and respect for the dignity of all are observed.
“This means wisely choosing servant leaders who can become heroic agents of change,”, adding that these will be the heroes not only for the deeds they do but for the stand they take on unpopular issues.
Meanwhile. Mzuzu Diocese Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice (CCJP) has described pastoral letters authored by the country’s Catholic Bishops as a voice for all Malawians.
CCJP Mzuzu Diocesan Coordinator, Arnold Msimuko said the message contained in the letters directly affect all Malawians at various particular times, hence the need for all people to consider the documents as their own.
“When Bishops author the letters, they do not just mention issues that affect the Catholic faithful alone. The letters cover national issues so the nation should own them as they help to influence some decisions for the good of the nation,” he said.
Making a presentation on next week’s tripartite elections, Isaac Ziba pleaded with Malawians to choose leaders who have shown the passion and desire to change the nation for the better.
Ziba said time has come for Malawians to stop voting on party, regional or tribal lines but concentrate on leaders who will help spearhead the nation’s transformation agenda.
“What we need now are leaders who have genuine passion to develop this nation for the better. We are tired of mentioning neighbouring countries which are doing well development wise while Malawi keeps lagging behind,” he said.
The clergy command influence in the country and have proved an influential voice since the advent of plural politics in 1993.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :