Churches call for prayers before Aug 17 ‘Red Army' demo

The Protestant Christian Churches mother body, Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) and Catholic Churches mother body, Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), have called for divine intervention as the country draws near to August 17, when citizens are to stage another round of mass demonstrations aimed at expressing dissatisfaction with the Bingu wa Mutharika administration.

Joined by other church groups including the Moslem Association of Malawi (MAM), the two bodies say the prayers will be a moment of reflection on the turn of events surrounding 20/7 (July 20, 2011) public demonstrations which saw 19 people killed by live bullets fired by the Malawi Police Service (MPS).

“What was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration regarding economic and governance issues was marred by court injunctions, violence, loss of lives and looting. In order to avoid further loss of life and damage,” reads a statement issued by the MCC Secretariat in the capital, Lilongwe.

A week ago, the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) also held national prayers in memory of the killed and in seeking divine intervention on the political and economic down turn in a country of 14 million people with 75% living below the US$1 poverty line.

MCC leadership: Rev Dr Joda Mbewe (L) and Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe

Malawians are angry at Mutharika’s mishandling of the economy and his outbursts at any constructive criticism.

The prayers are scheduled for August 16, just a day before the demonstrations, which civil society organizers now say will be in the form of a two-day vigil on the streets across the country.

The religious bodies have called upon all religious leaders, government leadership, all leaders of political parties, civil society and human rights groups, members of the international community, academia, traditional leaders and youth groups to grace the prayer service.

“The churches, dioceses, parishes, religious congregations, denominations of member churches, moslem members, the public of good will and media houses are all requested and encouraged to publicize the event and participate in the prayers,” says the statement.

It adds this is a rare opportunity where all faith leaders have united for a noble action of calling for God’s intervention in the challenges facing Malawi.

“As God-fearing Nation we are all encouraged to ‘Pray at all times’ (1 Thess. 5:17)”, says the statement signed by ECM deputy secretary general, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Chimombo, MCC General Secretary Rev. Dr. Osborne Joda-Mbewe, MAM Secretary General Sheikh Dr. Salmin O.I. Omar, and Seventh Day Adventist president for Malawi, Pastrop Frackson Kuyama.

Theme for the prayers is ‘A nation seeking God’s intervention in forgiveness, reconciliation and peace’.– Simbani Media

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