Leader of opposition Chipani Cha Pfuko (CCP) Davis Chester Katsonga has noted that the Catholic bishops have given President Joyce Banda constructive criticism on her administration’s management style, including abuse of power and limited adherence to the rule of law.
Katsonga told Nyasa Times on Monday that the pastoral letter under the theme ‘Strengthening the Vision of Our Destiny’ read in all Catholic churches across the country, that current leaders have obvious flaws that Malawi cannot afford to repeat.
“Not making the right changes in the Malawi Government systems is like opting to choose death instead of life,” Katsonga, former minister and ex-Speaker of Parliament said.
He noted that the letter states that there is continuous occurrences of witch hunt and arbitrated arrests of government critics without thorough investigations, recourse to natural justice and efforts to side line and remove political competitors from the electoral race, abuse of power by parties in government, centralization of power instead of enabling environment for citizen participation in governance.
Katsonga – a Catholic – also noted the letter denounced the hand clapping or praise singing to nonperforming leaders, a weakening spirit of patriotism, growing spirit of fatalism, systematic abuse of government funds (cashgate), hand-out mentality instead of self-reliance, lack of genuine democratization of the nation, deliberate manipulation of laws to suit narrow minded interests are all examples of what is wrong with the country and its leaders.
The church has described the forthcoming tripartite elections as an opportunity and a challenge to Malawians, urging them to vote for a leader with a vision, a good steward, exemplary, one who respects the Constitution and Rule of Law and is accountable, democratic and genuinely God-fearing
“Due to old habits and the standing of leaders, Malawi is reaching its independence where the citizens are not exercising their freedom of change and that of democracy,” said Katsonga.
“It is time for change, and it is time to break old habits if Malawi is to change for the best,” Katsonga added.
President Banda has since welcomed the criticism from the influential; Catholic bishops, saying it gives her administration an “opportunity to improve on the shortcomings. “
Speaking during the World Aids Day commemoration in Kasungu, Banda said: “This [pastoral letter] is a welcome development, God speaks through leaders such as the bishops.”