Malawi’s Catholic bishops condemn ‘get-rich-quick’ syndrome

The spiritual leaders of the Catholic Church in Malawi have condemned the growing incidence of corruption following the cashgate scandal in government, saying it has contributed to the inequalities in the country.

In the first public reaction to the   malfeasance in government,   the influential Catholic church issued a pastoral letter, dated December 1, 2013 made available to Nyasa Times,  signed by all Catholic bishops, including Bishop Joseph Zuza, chairperson of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) and bishop for Mzuzu Diocese; his vice Thomas Msusa of Zomba Diocese, Tarcisius Ziyaye of LiLongwe Archdiocese, Thomas Msusa Blantyre Archdiocese; Peter Musikuwa of Chikhwawa Diocese, Emmanuel Kanyama of Dedza Diocese; Alessandro Pagani of Mangochi Diocese, Reverend Montfort Stima Auxiliary Bishop of Blantyre and Diocesan Administrator and  Dr. Martin Mtumbuka of Karonga Diocese.

“We have taken time to understand what is happening, to ponder and pray over these revelations and we are still shocked that such things could happen in this God-fearing country,” said the bishops about the cashgate scandal which has seen donors withholding budgetary support for the poor nation.

The bishops called the cashgate scandal as “an embarrassment” to the country and an indication of “serious moral decadence and dwindling levels of patriotism in our country.”

Bishops of the influential Catholic Church: Condemn corruption

Reads the statement: “We are dismayed that materialism, corruption and get-rich-quick syndrome seem to be on the rise at the expense of truth, honesty and hard working.  It is in this context, that we your pastors humbly but truthfully propose a critical reflection on the issues relating to this scandal, the impact of the looting, and call for appropriate, proportionate and timely actions. “

The bishops have asked government officers to “humbly acknowledge their moral responsibility in this scam.”

In their epistle, the Catholic Church is also calling that process to reclaim the looted property and cash should be embarked upon.

They also on the Joyce Banda administration to “listen attentively and honestly to the cries and frustration of the people.”

The Catholic bishops also noted that Malawians in general need a deep soul searching and a genuine repentance “remembering that, regarding public resources, much as we are accountable to the citizenry of this country, it is finally to God that we are accountable.”

The church also urged its  upon priests and religious not to use the ‘Cash gate’ crisis to advance partisan interests but to recall what the bishops have said many times that the role of the Catholic Church is not to make particular political choices for people.

The bishops stressed that the cashgate scandal is of “serious concern” and maintained their condemnation of the immoral acts. They also expressed “solidarity” with those engaged in positive actions so that Malawi does not continue to lose opportunities for growth in all aspects.

“The social ill facing our country will not be overcome solely by political or social remedies because, for us, the true nature of the evil facing Malawi is moral. “

The bishops called on Malawians towards “an immediate moral and spiritual conversion.”

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