Government officials and religious leaders are today locked in a crucial meeting in Lilongwe which will decide whether to lift the strict 10-member congregation for religious gathering or not.
Public Affairs Committee (PAC) publicity secretary Gilford Matonga said the quasi-religious organization members are participating in the talks as religious leaders not representing the views of PAC.
This comes at a time the CCAP synod and other church organisations have vowed to disobey the Covid-19 strict preventive measure which outlaws any religious gathering of more than 10 people including church services.
Information minister Gospel Kazako said government want to listen to the grievances which the churches have.
“We want to hear them out, we want to hear their side of the story. At the end of it all, we all want to agree that Malawians should not be dying of covid-19,” he said.
Kazako said all Malawians should stand up together in the face of the ravaging Covid-19.
CCAP General Assembly moderator the Reverend Dr Timothy Nyasulu said they were disturbed by the lack of consultations from government on the new rules.
He said: “We are concerned because we were not consulted. The CCAP General Synod is a big church with three big synods in Malawi. We were just ambushed by this gazetted Covid-19 law and as such, we have agreed to maintain the 100 people per worship service, while following all precautionary measures like wearing masks, using hand sanitisers, soap, and observing social distancing.”
On its part, the Pastors Task Force on Covid-19 led by Bishop Maurice Katema said restricting worship gatherings to 10 people was as good as closing the churches.
Warned the bishop: “Let the government hear this: It’s either you listen to our pleas to gather in large crowds like we do or we will defy the orders and fill the churches this Sunday.”
Prophetic Ministries Association of Malawi (Promam) led by prophets David Mbewe and Justice Hara, also bemoaned the lack of consultations in the new preventive measures.
“Churches might meet in tens or might not meet at all, but so long as all these other places continue to gather without observing any of the measures, our efforts are nothing but a joke,” it reads in part.
On Monday, the Catholic Church’s Episcopal Conference of Malawi also expressed disappointment on the lack of consultation, but encouraged their followers to strictly adhere to the health guidelines.
Among the new rules, individuals are supposed to wear masks in all public areas, failing which, they will be fined K10 000; public gatherings are limited to 10, or face a K100 000 fine and three months imprisonment.
Cumulatively, Malawi had recorded 4 752 cases by Wednesday and 152 deaths.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :