Religious leaders have asked politicians in the country to deal with issues that affect the populace with soberness, saying this can prevent civil strife from occurring in the country.
Sheikh Twaha Saidi of the Quadria Association of Malawi said, during a memorial service held for the July 20 victims at the Kamuzu Institute for Sports in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, that if leaders weren’t temperamental prior to the July 20 anti-government protests the situation could have been better.
“Leaders failed to contain themselves and act with soberness thus the disaster we all saw during the July 20 demonstrations,” he said.
He asked Malawians to pray to God for the country to become more prosperous.
Speaking at a similar event at Zolozolo Cemetery in Mzuzu attended by President Joyce Banda, the Livingstonia Synod general secretary Reverend Levi Nyondo and the Synod’s Church and Society Programme director Moses Mkandawire warned that if government fails to be accountable to the people, the church and the civil society will not remain quiet.
“We don’t want this [such demonstrations] to repeat. There were no freedoms, no human rights in the last regime. We even thought that Kamuzu Banda era was better. The whole government machinery was defiant. But things have changed now.
“The Synod of Livingstonia and other churches will support you. But when things go wrong, we will point out,” said Nyondo.
During the 2011 demonstrations, at least 20 people were killed across the country when police confronted the unarmed demonstrators using excessive force and opened fire at the protesters when they took to the streets to protest against shortages of fuel, foreign exchange and poor governance.
A commission of inquiry appointed by the late Bingu wa Mutharika, but whose results came out in July 2012 under the administration of Joyce Banda, faulted the police for the deaths and called for investigation and prosecution of those involved.
Presently, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (CEDEP) has called on for an expedited judicial process to bring to book all perpetrators of crimes and call for compensation of victims and survivors.