Malawi Catholics urged to participate in front-line politics

The Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) has challenged elites Catholics across the country to come fourth and participate in the Social and Political domains of this country.

The Officer responsible, Father Henry Chinkanda said this in an interview, saying the call is in line with Vatican II teachings of the Church which encourages the elite to participate in the affairs of all sectors of life with Christian values.

He said the percentage of Catholics in the country does not defeat the representation in the August House hence the need for more Catholic representation in Parliament.

“By percentage, the Catholic representation in Parliament is slight low as compared to the population of Catholic faithful in the country. This entails that many Catholics are not willing to participate in politics,” said Fr. Chinkanda

Father Chimkanda
Father Chimkanda

According to Fr. Chinkanda, research has shown that many people including the elite Catholic do not understand what Politics is all about as many associate it as a dirty game.

He was however quick to mention that Politics is not a dirty game rather an art of running the society or a country.

“In actual fact, Politics starts even in a house because a family can have its own policies that members of that particular house follow. It is a similar scenario here that Politics as an art of running a society or a country can be regards as good thing altogether, “he said

He challenged those interested to join Politics to first of all understand what it means to be a Political leader because the church is there to encourage a Political arena which is guided by the values of Church teachings.

“It depends on how one would understand Politics but what we are saying here is that we want our elites interested to join Politics to work according to the social teachings of the Church whenever they want to make decisions. For instance, if we can have more representation of Catholics in the Malawi Parliament, I don’t think, there could be any one supporting the issue of same sex marriage because our social teachings does not accept that,” said Fr. Chinkanda

Fr. Chinkanda said the Church is not encouraging its faithful interested to join Politics to go for a specific party rather gives freedom to every individual to go for any party where he feels to be comfortable.

According to Fr. Chinkanda, the Church is only looking for Politics with big ‘P’ which about running the affairs of a country and not politics with small ‘p’ which is party politics.

“You may be interested to know that to be a Politician or at a decision making position is a vocation to serve God’s people just like he (God) chose leaders like King Solomon and David for his people,” he said

He also said the Church is not only encouraging Parliamentary aspirants but even those that are interested to contest as Ward Counselors or the Presidency since all are a position that represents the welfare of a society.

Asked if this is an on-going program or it’s there just because elections are coming closer in this country, Fr. Chinkanda was quick to mention that this program will be there even after the elections.

He said, “This is a new office, established by our Bishops last year and the activities in there started way back just that people associated them with CCJP activities .We are not ending here but it’s an ongoing program”.

Apart from encouraging the elite to take part in Politics, the program is also calling up on women in the Church to take a leading role by participating as well.

Meanwhile, ECM has been to all the eight Catholic dioceses in the country with sensitization messages to its elites and according to Fr. Chinkanda the response is over-whelming so far.

Currently, only 30 Parliamentarians out of 193 are Catholics in the August House.

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