Catholic Bishops in Malawi who met President Peter Mutharika at State House last Friday rejected cash handouts of K50,000 and asked the President to channel the money to hospitals where patients are now only getting one meal a day.
The Catholic bishops went to Kamuzu Palace to formally formally introduce to President the newly-appointed Bishop-elect for Zomba Diocese, the Very Reverend Father George Tambala.
The delegation, which came under the identification of Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), was led by Archbishop Thomas Msusa of the Archdiocese of Blantyre, who is also chairperson of the ECM also held closed-door discussions with Mutharika.
Later, State House officials gave each of the bishop a an envelope each which had K50,000 inside.
But Nyasa Times sources in the ECM said the bishops did not want to take money.
ArchibishopMussa thanked the President for the gift but said,” Your Excellency, we sincerely thank you for being such a kind leader, we have appreciated your gift but will leave the money here. If possible Your Excellency do us a favour of donating these money to any of the hospitals were patients are missing their meals.”
His Grace Msusa, who is the head of the church in the country , and who led a five-member delegation, told news reporters that the closed-door discussions were cordial and in-depth.
He said the five-members delegation of the Catholic bishops told President Mutharika to “resist pressure” over the controversial issue of homosexuality rights by following constitutional guidelines in running the country.
“We were candid with the President, to say that these controversies and undue pressure on gay rights [Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender intersex matters] are alien to most Malawians and are being championed by foreigners.
“As the Catholic Church, we say ‘no’ to supporting these gay activities and we will follow strictly our church doctrine,” Msusa stated.
The head of Catholic church in Malawi disclosed that the bishops told President Mutharika “not to be swayed” on the gay rights campaign “but to follow what the Malawi Constitution says.”
Anyone convicted under Malawi’s anti-gay laws, some of the toughest in the world, can get up to 14 years in jail with hard labor.
Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu said recently the laws will be reviewed.
He said Malawi government has imposed a moratorium on anti-homosexual laws pending a decision on whether to repeal the legislation.
The Catholic Church calls LGBTI practices un-Godly and recommends that such people be conscientised, counselled and be guided to repent from their practices that run counter to the teachings of the Bible.
While expressing profound gratitude for the appointment of Father Tambala, President Mutharika noted how crucial the church has been to the country’s social fabric for many decades and how best it can continue to champion such a cause.
“May you accept our gratitude for everything that the Catholic Church is doing in support of my government’s development programs. Your provision of education, health, food security and other services are appreciated,” said Mutharika.
He assured the Bishop-elect of unceasing support from him as an individual and his government in all the activities and programs of the Zomba Diocese.
“When people have faith in God, they [ultimately] have faith in themselves. Allow me, therefore…, to tell Malawians to believe in themselves and in their capabilities. If they believe in themselves, they work hard, they will be patriotic and they will be contributing (to development) and in the end, it will be Mother Malawi that will progress,” said Mutharika.
Bishop-elect Father Tambala, who was appointed Bishop by Pope Francis in October 2015, was born on November 18, 1968 in Zomba.
Presidential spokesman Gerald Viola did not respond to a request for comment on the cash handout to the men of the collar.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :