Political and governance commentators have discredited the newly-formed Intefaith Forum for Peace, Justice and Dialogue chaired by Evangelical Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe as a grouping comprising “ mercenaries of government” and that they want to defend their “eating.”
The grouping has been formed to mediate in the post-election stalemate but commentators said their membership blends of members who do not proclaim the truth to side with the poverty stricken Malawians but individuals in white collars aligned to government for their personal benefits.
Chaired by Bvumbwe, Reverend Timothy Nyasulu as the vice chairperson and controversial Anglican Dioence of Upper Shire Bishop Brighton Vita Malasa is the secretary.
Others who make up the interim executive committee include Reverend Edward Chitsonga, Monsignor Boniface Tamani, Calvary Family Church’s Apostle Madalitso Mbewe, Reverend Matiya Nkhoma, Bishop Charles Tsukuluza, Pastor Frackson Kuyama, Apostle Stanley Ndovie of Living Waters Church , Sheikh Dinala Chabulika, Reverend Masauko Mbolembole, Alhaji Adam Mwale and Reverend Alex Maulana of CCAP Blantyre Synod.
Most of the clergy in the group are serving the interest of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government and serve its interests as they are holding positions on different State roles.
Political commentator Humphreys Mvula has noted that most the clergy in the Forum are even known “surrogates” of government “and have never criticised government when it is wrong.”
He said the new Forum will not serve the interest of Malawians, saying their membership comprises of individuals who have been “part of omissions and commissions of government.”
The emergence of the group is a tactic by DPP-led government to shrink the civic space by forming institutions that are composed of their supporters, according to Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) vice-chairperson Gift Trapence.
But government spokesman Mark Botoman dismissed Trapence’s assertions as misguided.
Botoman, who is also Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communication Technology, said government has no role in the formation of the grouping.
The new grouping is said to counter attack the influence of the quasi-religious body, the Public Affairs Committee (PAC).
PAC is a credible inter-faith human rights and policy watchdog, was formed in 1992 during the country’s political transition from one-party to multiparty system of government.
In the aftermath of the May 21 Tripartite Elections and the tension that ensued, especially surrounding the announcement of the presidential results, PAC embarked on a mission to engage presidential candidates to find a solution to the electoral impasse.
In an earlier statement jointly signed by board chairperson the Very Reverend Felix Chingota and publicity secretary Reverend Father Peter Mulomole, the body said since May 22 it held face-to-face and telephone conversations with some of the presidential candidates to learn more on the challenges facing the result management system.
In 2014, PAC also played a role in opening dialogue among contestants to resolve the election stalemate, again relating to the presidential contest.
The peace declaration serves as a goodwill document for dialogue, mediation and political settlement should things go wrong after voting.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :