State Vice President Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima on Sunday read out a letter from the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), a grouping of Catholic bishops, asking their flock to pray for, and patronise, peaceful marches organised by the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) on December 13 to register its frustration with the way government has handled the issue of electoral reforms.
PAC asked government to table the Electoral Reforms Bill as well as the Local Government Reforms Bills by Wednesday this week or face nationwide protests.
But Solicitor General Janet Banda, who is principal secretary for Justice, indicated that the Bills are not yet ready, adding that Cabinet will have to meet to agree on the way forward.
Chilima, a devout Catholic, on his usual Sunday attendance ar 9.30am Mass at St Patrick’s Parish in Area 18 in Lilongwe read out the letter from ECM.
He, however, gave a disclaimer he was not adding or substracting any content in the bishops statement.
Chilima was apparently scheduled on roster for the day’s readings and announcement that coinceded with the letter
The Catholic bishops read letter in churches on Sunday persuading all their members throughout the country for peaceful marches to force government to table and pass the Electoral Reforms Bills during the current sitting of Parliament
In a circular letter, addressed to Catholic priests in the country, dated December 2 2017, signed by the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) secretary general Fr Henry Saindi, the bishops are urging the priests to ask their faithful to pray for the peaceful marches, and also to participate in them.
Reads the statement in part: “PAC has organised a peaceful nationwide marches on 13th December 2017 to demonstrate dissatisfaction in the manner the government has handled the issue of Electoral and LGA [Local Government] reforms.
“It is against this background that the bishops are asking us to do the following— (1) pray for this nation and its leadership to do what is right and good for the nation, for prayer is indeed our powerful weapon; (2) in the spirit of active citizenship, join the peaceful marches for the love and good of our nation.
“May I, therefore, appeal to all of you to mobilise all Catholics and people of goodwill within your diocese/Parish to participate in the peaceful marches. Let’s stand up and demand for transformative leadership: now is the time to reclaim our destiny”.
The marches, which will be held under the theme: “We demand Transformative Leadership: Now is the time to reclaim Our Destiny”, demand Parliament to table the controversial Electoral Reforms Bills whose major highlight is the 50+1 win requirement in future presidential elections.
The planned peaceful marches will be held in the cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Zomba and Mzuzu.
Last week, PAC presented a petition to Parliament, asking the Legislature to table the Bills.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :