Khwauli takes ministerial oath without holy book

Alliance for Democracy (Aford) MP for Karonga Nyungwe, Khwauli Msiska, on Monday took an oath for a ministerial position without holding on a Bible or Quran at a ceremony held in the capital, Lilongwe.

Msiska was appointed by President Joyce Banda as deputy minister of economic planning and development.

As is the practice, such public office-holders have to take the oath by holding up on their respective Holy Books.

But Msiska was sworn into office without using a holy book as he refused to use the Bible and Quran.

He is an executive member of the Association for Secular Humanism in Malawi, a grouping that does not believe in the existence of God.

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“You’re Excellency, the deputy minister cannot swear using either a Bible or a Quran,” announced the cabinet clerk.

Unlike others, Msiska did not conclude with the words “So help me God.”

Msiska told Nyasa Times his religious beliefs are essentially private.

He is not the first to enter cabinet who does not swear on a Bible when making an oath of allegiance or of an office.

Dr George Nga Mtafu who served several ministerial positions during the tenure of President Bakili Muluzi and as former Member of Parliament has not been holding the bible in swearing ceremonies.

The neurologist however is a Christian and member of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church.

Asked to explain why he does not swear on a Bible when taking oath, Mtafu said: “Swearing on a bible is something very bad unless you are certain you are going to do it 100 percent.”

He added: “Many people who have sworn bibles, most of the people have not held that oath.”

During the swearing-in ceremony at New State House, Minister of Gender Anita Kalinde got the loudest applause apparently for her ‘adventure’ with former Home Affairs minister Aaron Sangala in parliament.

Son of former president Bakili Muluzi, Atupele Muluzi, accompanied by his wife, Angela also got some notable applause so did UDF’s Ibrahim Matola with his English ‘slang’.

Others who received cheers included Jennifer Chilunga and Sosten Gwengwe.

Some ministers particularly those who served in the previous government of Bingu wa Mutharika did not take oath of office and allegiance as they had already done so when they were first appointed in cabinet.

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