The nine bishops of the influential Catholic Church in Malawi have issued a statement urging Malawians to mourn President Bingu wa Mutharika with dignity befitting Head of State.
The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), which represents the eight Catholic Dioceses said a statement made available to Nyasa Times that it was “saddened by the demise of President Bingu wa Mutharika,” calling on citizens “to maintain peace and order during the transitional period.”
The statement, signed by ECM chairman Bishop Joseph Zuza of Mzuzu Diocese and eight other bishops, said: “The Episcopal Conference of Malawi joins all people of good will in expressing condolences to the President–in-waiting, Her Excellency Madam Joyce Banda, the First Lady, the Mutharika family and the entire nation for this sudden loss of the leader of the nation.
“We call upon all Malawians to mourn the death of our leader with the kind of dignity befitting the Head of State always ensuring that we rise above personal and political self interests. In this regard, we appeal to the conscience of all those in relevant decision-making offices to strictly adhere to the provisions of succession provided for in the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi.”
The bishops quoted John 14: 27, in which Jesus Christ tells his heart-broken Apostles by declaring that “peace is what I leave you, it is my own peace that I give you.
“We pray that the peace and calm that has been characteristic of Malawi as a nation is seen and allowed to prevail in our country at this juncture.
“May God, our Creator, who by the power of Christ conquered death, in his infinite mercy and love, enable the late President share his victory and rest in peace,” the statement concludes.
The statement is signed by the President of the ECM Bishop Joseph Zuza of Mzuzu diocese, Thomas Msusa Vice-Chairman and Bishop of Zomba, Tarcisius Ziyaye Archbishop of Blantyre, Remi Ste-Marie Archbishop of Lilongwe, Peter Musikuwa Bishop of Chikhwawa, Emmanuel Kanyama Bishop of Dedza, Alessandro Pagani Bishop of Mangochi, Martin Mtumbuka Bishop of Karonga and Montfort Stima Auxiliary Bishop of Blantyre.