Catholic priest says Malawians should stop electing thieves  

Catholic priest Father Ernest  Mwinganyama of Mangochi has added a voice on the state of governance in the country by apportioning the blame to Malawians for electing thieves into power and also the existing perceptions that leaders are bosses rather than watchmen.

Bishops of the influential Catholic Church have issued a pastoral leytter calling for New era

Mwinganyama’s views comes against the background of the Civil Society demonstrations on the dwindling state of governance under the theme “Time to reclaim our destiny” held on 27 April and also the Catholic’s Pastoral Letter issued on 29 April under the theme “A call for a new era in Malawi”.

Delivering a homily centred on the just released Catholic’s Pastoral Letter – which has also gone viral on social media – aired on Radio Maria on Sunday, Father  Mwinganyama said by virtue of electing thieves into government Malawians were also accomplice in the current worsening state of governance in the country.

“Some lawyers are busy defending thieves. Is this okay? In Malawi we elect thieves. If we elect thieves then certainly we are all thieves. We can’t honestly say we are not thieves after electing thieves. Worse still, after electing these thieves we continue to shield them. What kind of madness is this…? I am talking here about what the Episcopal Conference of Malawi’s pastoral letter is saying…” preached Mwinganyama.

The priest further gave an analogy of a watchman “mlonda” and his boss “bwana” to stress the point that leaders are supposed to be guided by the voters or peoples will, not their selfish interests.

“All of us know that the job of watchman is to provide security of the property of the owners –his boss. When you elect a President his job is certainly to take care of our property – in this case our taxes and public resources. Just like us priests, chairman Bishops, the President –whatever the party he or she holds – is a watchman. Ironically, some watchmen think that the property belongs to them. They have forgotten that the owners of the property are Malawians. The owners of the property can decide to fire the watchman. A good watchman knows how to respect the owners of the property. The money and public resources we have in Malawi is ours, it’s not for the watchman (the President). It’s our money, though some watchmen are found with this money in their houses. The President is not my bwana (boss). He is my servant. The President to me is a watchman. And sometimes I feel sorry when I hear some of you shouting to the President, “Bwana! Bwana!” How foolish are we?… This is my interpretation of the Pastoral Letter”, said the priest, a highly respected figure in the Catholic Church circles.

Reacting to the homily, Vice Chairperson of Human Rights Defenders Forum Gift Trapence said the ceremony reflects the reality of our democracy in Malawi especially in relation to our politicians who don’t respect Malawians who put them in office.

“There is too much impunity with our political leaders. They don’t respect their employers who are the tax payers. Our democracy can be meaningful if Malawians elects leaders who have the best interest for the people. Leaders who  do not condone corruption. Things will change in Malawi if people do not entertain mediocre leadership and stop being passive,” said Trapence, who was also one of the CSO leaders who led Malawians in the 27th April demonstrations over deteriorating governance.

A renowned political commentator Dr Michael Jana- a political science lecturer Wits University in South Africa – said that the priests’ views only confirmed what one of his academic studies had revealed on the subject matter and hence commended the priest for being the change agent on mind-set change.

“In my thesis about 4 years ago, I grappled with determinants of political legitimacy in African emerging democracies.  One interesting determinant was the perception of leaders as our parents – and Michael Schwartzberg’s work is instructive in this case. This becomes ironic in that if leaders don’t treat citizens as parents would fend for their children, the parents are deemed to have failed and this affects their performance based legitimacy. On the other hand, treating leaders as parents (as opposed to treating them as employees- Alonda) affects accountability of the leaders to their citizens whom they treat as their ‘kids’. Afrobarometer studies and papers e.g. Logan have addressed this aspect. I am glad that this priest is tackling this subject. He is a social change agent that is reminding us that we need to change our mindset. However, encouragingly the statistics (e.g. Afro barometer) shows that the proportion of Malawians who consider government as their parent (as opposed to mlonda) is going down” said Dr Jana, a former lecturer in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies at Chancellor College.

Adding his voice to the homily, a local governance analyst Makhumbo Munthali said Father Mwinganyama must be commended for clearly reminding Malawians about the principle of Social Contract as laid down in Malawi’s Constitution.

“The priest’s homily augurs well with not only the Episcopal Conference of Malawi’s Pastoral Letter’s call for Malawians to change their mind-set but also the CSO’s 10 point demands petition where the issue of Malawi’s Social Contract principle was quoted.

“While Section 6 of the Republic Constitution implies that a government that has not been elected through universal suffrage does not have authority to govern, Section 12 (c) safeguards the power of the people by implying that a government that no longer has the sustained trust of the people, regardless of the fact that it might have been duly elected through universal suffrage, has no authority to govern, and people have the mandate to remove it in accordance with the law”, said Munthali, a former national secretary of the Ethics, Peace and Justice Commission of Evangelical Association of Malawi and National Advocacy Coordinator for Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation.


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Tenzi Mzungu
Facts: 1. You are a thief when you are convicted by the competent court 2. Malawi has more than 17 million people but less than 10 thousand demonstrated meaning that the majority did not take part and this can’t be vote of no confidence. 3. Catholic priests in Malawi have children. 4. Many Catholic priests and nuns have died of AIDS related diseases contracting HIV through sex yet we believe they’re not supposed to do sexual intercourse 5. Presidential appointments go to party loyalists who will work according to principles of that party 6. No demos were held after cash… Read more »

Catholic bishops, don’t you know that lawyers defending thieves is DEMOCRACY – the DEMOCRACY you fought for. It seems you are confused about what democracy means. Did you want the thief to be thrown and killed in prison without trial. That’s why we don’t listen to you any more.

Let the priest throw the first stone if he knows that he has not done any sin. Let him prove to the world that what he receives as offerings and Mtulo is not from Katangale. How many children do we have that the priest have fathered in the community? What do he ask to be given when he is conduct a memorial mass or weddings? We can hire the pope to be president. Cardinals to be ministers and priest as MPs still the country will suffer from corruption. Why ? There is a need to change the way we do… Read more »
Kunena Mosapsyatila

Don’t be a fool. The commitment and seriousness of a leader make his subjects to revere him and bring about the necessary change needed in a nation. A very good example is found in Tanzania, where Magufuli sasakelera za uchitsiru. That is how serious a leader should be; putting the country first and self behind. The Catholic priest was really right. Our bububu leader cannot bark, let alone bite at the beasts of pray around him. He is an accomplice in the crimes.



Jesus had 12 apostles. Judas Iscariot betrayed trust and had Jesus betrayed. This does not mean that all apostles were traitors. They continued with the mission of Jesus Christ. If Muhosha priest has betrayed trust, it does not mean that all priests have betrayed trust. Separate indivividual sins from community work. We, as staunch Catholics are behind our beliefs whether you like it or not. The journey continues.

The Civil Society, the clergy, academics and the media, have not adequately understood Malawi’s fundamental problem which politicians have long taken advantage of. We can’t solve Malawi’s current socio-economic and political state if we don’t understand Malawi’s root problem. Early colonialists, missionaries and post-independence politicians have bred a population of uneducated, delinquent children, incapable of independent critical thinking. Malawi’s 80% is in this category, mostly living in the rural areas and generally very poor. That being the case, one only needs to design a message that resonates to this constituency to win their votes and the current politicians know this… Read more »

Well said, I have been thinking this for so long. I understand how our politicians misbehave, but someone in the rural areas doesnt know that he is the boss of the president, ministers, Mps etc.


LEGO, are you sure all ministers are corrupt? Does Callista agree with you? You mean even Callista’s anointed presidential candidate is corrupt? You are not serious LEGO.


I wonder why Malawians we take things for granted. Catholic priest are trying to address the problem that we malawians are facing but we still ignore this. The issue of the killing of allubino was already addressed and in their letter they stressed that they will wait until justice flows like a stream. Do we not admire the economy of our neighbouring countries? Look at how Kagame is performing, using the same strategy Malawi developed. where are we now? Malawi wanga, i cry for this country!!!!!

Whats the difference between electing thieves and the church having pastors who steal kids innocence by molesting kids, Catholic priests having kids out of wedlock? Catholic priest being involved in the albino killings and that not being addressed in the pastoral letter is so hypocritical. Didn’t Bingu the biggest thief and the one who presided over the K236bn get endorsed by the same Catholic Church. Stay out of politics because you mislead the flock into choosing the thieves. You are the ones who enjoyed the most under Bingu and wined and dined with him at the expense of the poor.

What is your point now?Do you support these thieves?


ask him
Which side is he?

Amunandife Numbah

Mediocre thinking


Forgive him. He is so confused. Actually wazuka kumene amagona


No politician, church or any recognised body in malawi should lie that corruption can be fixed via an elected govt. Corruption is at the community, society level. If that isn’t fixed first, how do you expect to produce leaders? Hypocrites make the loudest noises.

Amunandife Numbah

everything is possible but yea u are right its a process


Yes the fight against corruption is for all but surely we need someone to provide leadership and that leadership should create working , non partisan , effective and vbrant systems in place. All these surely require political will. Unfortunately for us the current leadership is very much lacking and wanting . In other words peter mutharika has failed to lead malawi to fight corruption .


Vuto ndi loti amene akulankhula zonsezo mmipongomu, ndamrne asocheretsa unyinji WA anthi pa uzimu..mulungu sapanga za u nthira kuwiri…yesu anati” perekani za kaisala kwa kaosala ,za mulungi kwa mulungu”” mpongo ukuyenera kulombikotsa otsatira ake za chikondi, chifukwa chikpndi nde lamulo lalikulu..pali chikondi pamakhala mtendere,chilungamo,chimwemwe ndi zina zomse….lalikirani chikondi nthawi zomse…..


@ chikoti
Inu ndi opusa kwambiri mwamva. We are talking about malawi here our country and not about mipingo. Get lost with you DPP. Chikondi chili kuti pakati chiboma chako chakubachi you fool

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