The deputy director of youth in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Hophmally Makande has bowed to pressure and offered an apology after he was accused of making disparaging remarks against the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis.
Makande courted controversy when he told a rally on Sunday that the DPP will not heed calls for President Peter Mutharika to step down in account of old age unless the pontiff leads the way.
Catholic faithfuls contended the reference was not appropriate and disrespectful to the Pontiff who, unlike Mutharika, is not seeking a new term.
Makande remarks were aired live on Times Radio and Television during the rally.
And on Tuesday he rushed to Times Radio to offer his apology.
“I apologise to the Catholic family and the leadership of the Church,” Makande told Times Radio.
He said if people were offended by his statement, especially people of the Catholic faith, “I have to withdraw that statement and apologise wholeheartedly to the Catholic and its leadership.”
However, Makande attempted to clarify that it was not his intention to attack the influential church, saying he was misunderstood.
“I am a trained Catholic not a Catholic per se by I was schooled by the Catholics and I understand and I know what I meant on that one was Catholic is the possibly the only church which grooms leadership, which trains people, which understand power. And if there is any church to follow, to emulate and take as an example is the Catholic, that’s what I meant,” Makande said.
He continued: ‘That you become a father in the Catholic society, you cannot be a bishop after serving for four years, you got to be groomed, you got to be trained, you got to be put whatsoever so that as you reach maturity you understand what is a church. So that politicians should what, borrow.
“No that I was despising no. There is no way I can disrespect the church and I even said at the end that sindikunyoza church.”
Some officials of the DPP denounced the comments by Makande at the rally as “unacceptable, deeply disturbing”.
Makande is a recent DPP new comer from the then ruling People’s Party (PP). He made his political fortunes as a UDF operative during that party’s reign before joining the now defunct National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which was formed by another current DPP new comer, Brown Mpinganjira.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :