No candidate endorsement by Malawi Catholic church but guide — Analysts

Political analysts have observed that Catholic bishops in their renewed call for a new era through its pastoral letter have not endorsed any presidential candidate ahead of the court-ordered fresh presidential election tentatively set for June 23, but the influential church is calling out issues that need to be addressed.

Archbishop Msusa:  One of the signatories of the pastoral letter

The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM)—a grouping of Catholic bishops— in its 26th pastoral letter titled A Further Call for a New Era in Malawi: Leadership at the Service of Citizens, have condemned political violence, corruption, tribalism and fraud in the country.

“The letter is not clear on whether they want the incumbent President Peter Mutharika] out or not. It seems they want new leadership which means a new way of politics – which could mean Mutharika enhances his governance to meet the needs of what the letter is calling for.

“It could mean the philosophy of leadership needs a dimension shift from past to new norms of inclusivity, transparency and accountability.  The recent alliances are also a shift on all parties in the upcoming elections – it has ushered in already a new leadership in all parties – so could the letter mean that?” Bartholomew Selenje, a Catholic scholar, told Nyasa Times.

Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Blantyre Father Boniface Tamani confirmed that   the church does not endorse a candidate and only guide its congregants on qualities of a good leader that the country needs to have.

In their epistle, the bishops noted that the country is at crossroads and the presidential rerun offers an opportunity to choose a leader who can save the country from collapsing and who can foster unity and order.

“We can either choose to save our nation or destroy it. The most urgent task before us is to choose a leader who can rescue it from further deterioration,” reads the letter in part.

The Catholic Church is looking for a leader with eight qualities that include honesty, selflessness, good stewardship, decisiveness, respect for the Constitution and the rule of law, and being above tribal/regional/political interests, accountable and God-fearing.

However, governance expert and member of Political Science Association, Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that just like the 1992 pastoral letter  – Living Our Faith –  that narrated the gross evils of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) regime, the 2020 edition of Catholic bishops epistle has done likewise in presenting the key challenges associated with the current DPP regime.

“And it doesn’t need one to be a political scientist to grasp the key messages being driven home by the Catholic Bishops,” he said.


“Otherwise, the issues raised in the pastoral letter are not new. These are issues Malawians have struggled with in recent years under the DPP at the helm. So what the Bishops are trying to do -on one hand- is to remind Malawians to use the next election as an opportunity to change the status quo by punishing those largely responsible for such mess through a ballots,” pointed out Munthali.

“On the other hand the Bishops are also using the pastoral letter as a tool in setting the policy agenda for the next government -whether the current DPP or MCP – on priority challenges they need to focus on such as ridding the nation of vices such as impunity, nepotism, corruption, killings of persons with albinism ,” added the analyst.

Ernest Thindwa, a political science lecturer at Chancellor College—a constituent college of the University of Malawi, said the biggest challenge as a country is acute lack of quality leadership, saying if that is fixed, the country has “a huge potential”  to register meaningful progress on the socio-economic front “for the betterment of all Malawians.”

The pastoral letter is signed by The Most Reverend Thomas Msusa (ECM president and archbishop of Blantyre Archdiocese), Right Reverend Martin Mtumbuka (vice-president and bishop of Karonga Diocese), the most Reverend Tarsizio Ziyaye (Archbishop of Lilongwe Archdiocese), Right Reverend Peter Musikuwa (bishop Chikwawa Diocese) and Right Reverend Montfort Sitima (bishop of Mangochi Diocese).

Other signatories are Right Reverend George Tambala (bishop of Zomba Diocese), Right Reverend John Ryan (bishop of Mzuzu Diocese) and The Very Reverend John Chithonje (diocesan administrator of Dedza Diocese).

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4 years ago

..why didn’t u advise the Vatican that ur current pope is a crook? Cardinal Rico! Shame

4 years ago

I am a catholic and I have read the letter. But sorry cant vote for MCP. Charity begins at home. Can our bishops root out corruption, frauds and injustices rocking the catholic church in Malawi before pointing fingers! Atsogoleri anthu akukonda za dziko lapansi. How many of our clergy are busy amassing wealth at the expense of poor followers, how well paid are those who work for catholic institutions, zinyumba ma lodge ma business nsembe anthu akupanga and defrauding Christians through paper Sunday whose proceeds can be accounted for Leave us to choose based on our conscious. The most successful… Read more »

2020 Voter
2020 Voter
4 years ago

Zikomo ma Bishop athu potilembera kalata.
Ife pheeee pa Lilongwe pano kudikila kukavotela a Dad ndi mwana wao Atu basi osati zamatama tikuwonazi ayi.

4 years ago

I hope these bishops have side, we are not that ignorant, we read the the letter, we understood. The truth is they have side. It’s ok, see Mtambo came open, he resigned as HRDC chair and joined mcp. So why can’t them resign and campaign for mcp. We’re not blind.

4 years ago

It’s not a secret Catholic bishops are for Chirima ,Nkhoma CCAP Abusa=MCP not church anymore.Moti nonsenu ndi aganyu A Nkhoma CCAP.Mwangokankhira pumbwa kuchipwete.Angokudodani.

Malawi belong to the citizens

The pastoral letter has pointed out bad things happening now under dpp leadership, and it has warned malawians to vote wise.Voting wise is by removing DPP and UDF alliance out and put new leaders period.If DPP leaders were doing a great job to malawians,the pastoral letter would encourage what DPP is doing.To me the pastoral letter is telling me to vote for leaders who will put Malawians first, will fight corruption and frauds in Malawi.Leaders who will put police service in its order of working towards better Malawi.Pano police yilingati ya DPP kumanga opposition only.

Mangochi boi Advocate
Mangochi boi Advocate
4 years ago

Honourable bishops with all respect plz it cld b beta 4 u 2 keep qyt coz 1st Malawi is a secular state in which de r more beliefs. 2nd. Everyone knows dt especially in UTM almost d entire leadership belongs 2 Catholic including Chilima himself Lucius Banda n Kaliati 2 name bt a few hence we know whre d agenda of your letter is leading to. So listen here n listen attentively if u really wanted a new way of leading Malawi u cld hv waited until afta election bcz we all knw how APM’s leadership is all about but… Read more »

New way of Doing Things

Palibe chimene mungakane apa. Kalatayi ili ndi mbali koma, sizikanatero ayi.The late Arch Bishop James Chiona left the legacy.He understood philosophical and Theological ideologies very well than some of you.Enanu simungafikepo ayi chifukwa muli okonda za padziko lapansili basi. Enanu muli ndi umoyo ofana ndi mafumu a pansi pano osati za kumwamba.Enanu muli ndi ma driver ofana ngati anduna,ma body guard komanso akhristu akafuna kuonana nanu amapanga appointment. Ndani sakudziwani.Ambuye Chiona sanali tero ayi.Amayenda okha kagalimoto kachikalekale pokachititsa misa ku Chigumula. Bafunani atsogoleri oti muzipundulako.Lastly:incase you have forgotten that the worst form of government is Democracy-but the best form of… Read more »

nafundo zalo
nafundo zalo
4 years ago

kukukhala ngati sanachule oti asankhidwe. aliyese angoziganizila mu ntima mwake then kavoteni. simple..
aint we earlier ready kulandila cipukwano ca Ghandi dzana lija????. .

4 years ago

Mtumbuka and Msusa have lost their way. Nepotism and corruption tearing through the great catholic church. Dividing the faithful, asiyeni anthu asankhe zomwe akufuna.

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