All Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) synods in the country are in support for their flock to participate in Public Affairs Committee (PAC) nationwide demonstrations on December 13 to push for the enactment of the Electoral Reforms Bills, including the 50+1 provision for electing the President while Malawi Muslims Association (MAM) leadership are reported to have been ‘eating the scone’ from the regime not to take part.
CCAP General Assembly chairperson the Reverend Timothy Nyasulu, who is also PAC trustees board chair, said the CCPP are supporting the protests as Malawi Council of Churches has endorsed them.
The Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), an ecumenical mother body comprising 25 member churches and 20 para-church organisations nationwide, issued a statement in support of the protests calling on all church members and its congregations to join the protests.
Meanwhile, MAM officials have in their mouths full fluffy floury ‘scones’ with spokesman Sheik Dinala Chabulika saying government should not be pressured to table the electoral reforms bills.
He said at a news conference in Blantyre that there is commitment from government as it has already circulated three bills to be tabled and they are hopeful the other bills will also be tabled.
“As Muslim Association of Malawi, we would like to make it clear to the whole nation that we don’t have any problem with the Electoral Reforms Bills,” Chabulika said.
He appealed for all Muslims “not to participate” in the December 13 protest “and give dialogue a chance.”
Apparently, government officials are said to have palm oiled the MAM leadership to denounce the protests and that Shiek Idrissah Muhammad pocketed millions of Kwachas and shared little with other sheiks for their stand.
“We are not poor people, we are not madobadoba [beggers]. We cannot be bought, as a matter of fact, we are the ones who can buy others,” Muhammad said.
Secretary of Mangochi Majilis Ulama Council, Sheikh Maleat Twaha Mubarak said the Muslim community want to be enlightened on the bills.
“It is a pity that if you ask most Malawians, especially those who stay in rural areas, most of them will not tell you what is contained in the Bill and what it is all about – and these are the people who take part in voting,” he said.
Mubarak added that, “Before organizing the demonstrations on the electoral reforms, PAC should have first prioritized sensitization of the public on what the 50+1 is all about.”
MAM Vice Chairperson in Mangochi, Sheikh Fahid Kamsuli suggested that PAC should engage NICE Public Trust to create awareness about the electoral reforms bills to the general public so that Malawians understand the issues surrounding the reforms.
“We are not against PAC; we just want things to be done in an orderly manner and that the Committee should always stick to its obligation,” he said.
Kamsuli viewed that, “We will take part in any peaceful discussions to ensure that all Malawians are aware of issues contained in the electoral reforms bills.”
But Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi publicity secretary Sheikh Jafaar Kawinga said the issue is not about an individual religious institution, but PAC as an umbrella body.
Chancellor College political analyst Ernest Thindwa has also backed the decision, indicating that PAC as an organisation that represents people of all walks of life, it has every right to hold demonstrations as stipulated in the Constitution.
However, he said the possibility of dissenting views cannot be ruled out as PAC comprises so many stakeholders and having opposing views is normal.
PAC executive director Robert Phiri has since assured the nation of a peaceful march.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :