In the wake of violent demonstrations’ aimed at forcing the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chair, Justice Jane Ansah, to resign, Forum for Peace and Reconciliation (FORPER) and Pastors Peace Makers Forum (PPMF) on Monday August 5 2019 organized ‘Candlelight Peace Prayers’ in Blantyre.
Civil society organizations (CSOs) in Malawi, under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), in cohort with opposition political parties have been organizing what they claim are peaceful demonstrations since the presidential election results were announced after the 21st May tripartite elections.
Incumbent President Peter Mutharika was declared winner. They are disputing the results and calling for the departure of Ansah as Chair for the electoral body.
From Tuesday, HDRC said they would resume demonstrations and conduct vigils in selected places, including the seat of government at Capital Hill in Lilongwe, to force Ansah to go.
“We’re gathered here to let the entire nation know that we love them and we care for them. The church can’t be silent with the rash of violence that we’ve experienced in the last two months in the name electoral results dispute. We’re here to encourage all stakeholders to find amicable ways of resolving the matters,” said Apostle Malani Mtonga, FORPER Executive Director.
He said Malawians will never find another country to call their own other than Malawi and it was therefore imperative that the people live in peace and unity to achieve national progress and not retrogression.
“We have an energetic workforce desperate for something to do that if given a chance can turn this land into a thriving economy. We can push ourselves to build and not to war.
“Great parts of our nation are waiting for development and yet for the past two months all we have had is disruption. There has been disruption to our economy, disruption of the systems that hold our society together and disruption of peace. We have all forgotten that what we truly want at the end of the day is a Malawi we can be proud of; a Malawi that many wanted and fought for but never got to see,” observed Apostle Mtonga.
He said Malawians, especially opinion leaders, politicians, traditional leaders and the clergy must strive to keep Malawi a land of peace to ensure a brighter future for children and future generations.
“It would be admirable for the men of influence and great wisdom that we have now to make history and come together to do what others only dreamt of; build a thriving, independent nation with a good economy. Let the welfare of our people truly be the top priority. Let what has never happened in Malawi happen now. Let every person with ability and skill come together and map out a great Malawi,” he prayed.
Pastors Peace Makers Forum president, Joshua Jere, concurred with Apostle Mtonga, saying Malawians cannot continue destroying their own country in the name of politics. He said they had gathered on Monday to seek God’s intervention so that the devil is defeated and shamed.
During the prayers, the members lit hundreds of candles to emphasize that light shall always prevail of darkness as the nation can achieve victory over the prevailing “forces of evil and darkness”.
Apostle Mtonga, Bishop Mula and Bishop Mula led the members in prayer, sermon, praise and worship.