The Muslim Council of Malawi has questioned Catholic bishops in the country, under the umbrella of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), for not talking about increased violence against albinos in the country in contents of its recent Pastoral Letter.
The 16-page Pastoral Letter titled: ‘A Call For A New Era In Malawi’, read out in all Catholic churches Sunday—the fifth Sunday of Easter in the Catholic calendar— has catalogued ills bedevilling the nation and echoes the issues raised in the Ccivil society groups’ 10-point demand petition like the dwindling public service delivery, nepotism, lack of transformational leadership and others.
The Pastoral letter advises the citizens to look for honesty, transformational leadership, selflessness, servant leadership, decisive leadership, respects of the law, willingness to step down, above tribal/regional/ political interests; and God fearing as the qualities the citizens should consider.
But the Muslim community has accused Catholic Church for being mum albino attacks, apparently after a church’s priest was arrested on suspicion of being involved in the abduction and brutal murder of Macdonald Masambuka, a young Moslem with albinism from Machinga.
Father Thomas Muhosha of Mulombozi Parish in Zomba was arrested and is being investigated by Police after he was mentioned as one of the people who took part in the brutal killing of Masambuka.
The body of 22 year-old Masambuka, who hailed from Nakawa village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Nkoola in Machinga was found on April 1 buried within the district after he was reported missing in March this year.
Police traced the body following confessions from initial suspects who had been arrested in connection to the crime.
“We feel that the Catholic Church could have included the missing and brutal murders of people with albinism. Just recently our Muslim brother late Masambuka was murdered and one of suspect is a Reverend Catholic Priest. The nation may wish to know that Machinga district has registered the highest number of killings of people with albinism. We are aware that if it was a politician of any political party, the Catholic Church would have advocated for impeachment even though not proven guilty in the court of law” reads the statement signed by National Chairman Sheikh Yasin Katungwe and Publicist Mulli Bwanali.
It adds: ” We feel the Catholic Church could have assured Malawians through this Pastoral letter measures they have put in place to protect people with albinism “.
But the Episcopal Conference of Malawi suspedned the priest immediately after his arrest and also emphasized that the church condemns in its strongest terms any attacks on any human being.
Bishop George Tambala of the Zomba diocese distanced the church from Muhosha’s alleged conduct saying the church defends the sanctity of human life and the killings of persons with albinism is a violation to that sanctity.
“The Catholic Church has always strongly condemned the killings of persons with albinism,” said Bishop Tambala.
The bishops’ justice and peace commission has also condemned their killing, which is linked to the practice of witch doctors.
It said the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) has commented several times on the matter.
Across Africa – from Malawi, Tanzania, and Burundi in the east, to Cameroon in the west – albinos are targeted because it is believed they have magical powers or bring good luck. They are killed, and their body parts sold to be used in potions made by witch doctors.
CCJP commented that Malawi needs a multi-faceted approach to the problem, involving police, government, religious, and traditional leaders.
The pastoral letter was not read in some parishes due to various reasons. At Matawale Parish in Zomba for instance, the priest said the letter would be read next week. At Neno Parish it was not read as the priest was not available.
At Nanthomba Parish in Dowa, the parish priest, Fr. Sebastian Unsner stopped the catechist after reading the first two chapters of the letter saying it would be continued the following week as there was more time to elections next year.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :