In what has become a mainstay of ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gaffes, the party has made yet another capitulation by apologizing to the influential Catholic Church over remarks made against Pope Francis by one of it officials, Hophmally Makande, in Bangwe, Blantyre, last week.
Speaking to State controlled MBC on Tuesday, DPP spokesperson, Nicholas Dausi, said the party would like to apologize to the Catholic Church and the Holy Father over the remarks.
Makande, a DPP deputy director of youth, said Pope Francis should resign as head of the Catholic Church because of age.
He said this as he tried to contextualize why President Peter Mutharika, 79, cannot resign on account of old age (unless Pope Francis leads the way as he is older than Mutharika.
“Some of you are criticising and speaking bad that President Peter Mutharika is old… is the Pope a ten year-old… is the Pope a ten year-old? Between the Pope and Peter who is older? Isn’t it the Pope… why does he not resign then? I am not despising the church. But leave our President alone,” Makande told DPP supporters.
But DPP spokesman Dausi, a church going Catholic faithful who was at the rally but did not rebuke Makande, on Tuesday offered an apology on behalf of the party.
“The statement was erroneous and DPP does not condone such kind of behavior,” said Dausi.
Dausi said they will make sure Makande is disciplined.
“We cannot tolerate such attacks on nay individual, let alone the Holy Father,” he said.
Dausi, who is also Minister of Information and Communications Technology, said the party will summon Makande to a disciplinary hearing over the issue.
He defednded teh part officials’ failure to immediately censure Makande at the rally, saying they were in a state of shock, hence, needed time to recover and consult.
But Dausi said Makande’s remarks were “retrogressive” and conceded they have dented the image of the party.
Makande who joined the DPP after he ditched People’s Party which was founded by former President Joyce Banda and had also a stint with defunt National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which was formed by Brown Mpinganjira and UDF, has also withdrawn the statement and offered his apology too.
This is the fourth capitulation by the governing party and in as many weeks. Barely three weeks ago the party announced that it would pay back the K145 million it received from a businessesman Zameer Karim who is being accused of fraudulently obtain the funds from the Malawi Police a service.
This came after the party spent several weeks denying it ever received the funds before later accepting it did receive the money while vehemently rejecting calls to give it back, saying it was a donation made in good faith.
The DPP recently also apologised after its eastern region governor, Julius Paipi, made awkward remarks against Muslims when he described Islam as a religion of violence.
On Monday, this week, the DPP government chickened out of a court case when sought discontinuous in a case where it had arrested a Malawian-born US citizen, Manice Hale over charges of insulting the president.
The action was met by swift US reaction where it demanded answers from the government which led to the government dropping the charges.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :