Concerned Muslims have asked the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to discipline Julius Paipi, the regional governor for the eastern region for what he said at a political rally in Mangochi urging people not to vote for Muslim candidates.
Kalumpha: Muslims condemn careless remarks DPP regional governor
The Muslim remark angered Mangochi district campaign director for the party Wellington Mangulenje who has since resigned from his position in protest and withdrawn membership from the DPP.
Addressing a news conference on Wednesday , Sheikh Yahaya Hanif described Paipi’s remarks as offensive and provocative. And Malawi Muslim Community in the United Kingdom have also condemned the remarks.
“As Muslims, we have very good working relationship with the current President and his party. President Peter Mutharika has supported our various activities such as Ijtima which took place last year. So, for somebody to bring divisions between us and our President is very unfortunate and unacceptable,” Hanif told reporters.
The Sheik said DPP should distance itself from Paipi’s anti-Muslim remarks.
And Sheikh Yunus Makunganya said Paipi should apologise and the DPP leadership should also say sorry.
“Our religion teaches us to forgive if somebody apologises,” said Makunganya.
Sheikh Nordin Yasin rejected claims by Paipi that Islam is a religion of violence, saying it teaches peace and asked Muslims to remain calm.
In a statement made available to Nyasa Times, Rhodrick Junaid Kalumpha, Secretary General, Malawi Muslim Community UK, condemned the “ egregious and callous remarks” by Paipi.
Kalumpha said what the DPP Regional governor alleged against Muslims in Malawi is “ disgusting annotations” which have no place in modern day society, let alone modern day Malawi.
“As bonafide citizens of Malawi, Malawian Muslims have the right to seek any political office through any party of their choice under the democratic processes instituted by the Malawi Constitution. Conversely, every Malawian has got the freedom and right to choose any anyone to represent them regardless of their religious inclination. These freedoms of choice are enshrined in the supreme constitution of the land,” said Kalumpha n the statement.
“Perhaps Mr Paipi needs to be reminded that Malawi is a secular state, as such, politics of religion has no place in such a state. Mr Paipi also needs to be schooled on the fact that many families in Malawi, especially in his region which he claims to govern under the ruling DPP, are of mixed religious heritage. Indeed it is not uncommon to find that numerous families have both Muslim and Christian members. Throughout the Eastern region, we find churches and mosques built side by side, a testament to the fact that members of both of these great religions live in peaceful harmony. And indeed many of us have been both to the mosque and to the church at one point in time, and we have friends from both religious denominations,” the statement added.
The Muslims are calling on political leaders in the run up to the General Election next year to desist from such dangerous remarks and to focus on issue-based politics that will lift the living standards of many of our people.
Kalumpha said the DPP leadership should not only discipline Paipi from but also to apologise for the careless remarks.
“Malawi belongs to all of us, Christians, Muslims, animists and other religious denominations. It is in this vein that we applaud the action of Mr Wellington Mangulenje, the Mangochi DPP Campaign Director, who upon hearing Mr Paipi’s despicable remarks, resigned from his position immediately. We hope the DPP top leadership will address this matter with the seriousness it deserves. The Eastern Region will be watching,” concluded the statement.
DPP spokesperson Francis Katsaira said a team of party officials would be investigating the matter and an appropriate action would be taken .
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