The influential bishops of the Catholic Church under their umbrella body Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) have weighed in on the impending constitutional court judgement over the May 2019 presidential case; and, have fervently called on the faithful to hold steadfast to peace.
The verdict on last year’s disputed presidential case has ruffled feathers with protests and widening tension among the citizenry; but, the verdict, expected on Monday February 3, seems to be tenser with heavy military presence in the country’s central business districts.
In a statement issued Friday and titled ‘Call for Peace and Respect for the Rule of Law’, the bishops have said that “peace is the only true direction for human progress and development built on the foundation of respect for the rule of law.”
It said it is each citizen’s moral obligation to maintain and promote peace regardless of their political, religion and ethnic affiliations.
Reads the statement in part: “We, the Catholic Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) reiterate our call to all Catholics and peace loving Malawians on the importance of maintaining peace and order. Regardless of whichever way the judgment will go, regardless of the fact that we belong to different tribes, regions, political parties, religious backgrounds etc., the fact remains that after the judgment we will remain Malawians and Malawi will remain our country.”
According to the statement, the need for peace reflects the aspiration of the majority of people in this country, particularly vulnerable groups like women, children and the elderly in villages who are often victims of political violence.
They, thus, urged those whom the judgment will go in their favor to act gracefully and avoid provocative words and actions that incite violence, and those who will not be satisfied with judgment to seek peaceful and lawful remedies citing scriptures’ Mt 5:9’s “blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called God’s children.”
According to them, they are also dismayed by incidents of violence to human life manifested in the butchering of the elderly suspected to be witches or wizards which shows the state of lawlessness and disregard for the rule of law in this country.
“We, pastors of souls entrusted with the duty and responsibility of promoting and defending life graciously endowed to us by the Creator, we cannot remain silent in the face of this clear and direct violation of human life. While we condemn this vice in the strongest terms, we call upon duty bearers to take urgent measures to reverse the situation and demonstrate that their first and ultimate constitutional duty is to protect and defend life of all including the elderly,” the bishops say.
The Bishops have, therefore, called upon law enforcers to pursue justice and the Parliament to enact laws and policies that would create an environment where rights of all citizens, including the elderly are protected and defended.
The bishops also expressed their concern about the state of poverty and hunger in the country citing limited youth employment and economic opportunities, and increased gap between the rich and the poor as few indicators.
“The so-called economic gains the country has registered have not translated into improved living standards for the poor people in rural areas. We are saddened by reports that about 1.8 million people face hunger this year.
“We find it sinful to hoard large quantities of precious commodities by vendors and individuals with the intent of benefitting from the future price increase as is the case now with maize. We therefore, call upon the Government to translate the economic gains into poverty reduction for rural people and urgently support those in critical need,” said the bishops.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :