Peter Mutharika hails 'brave' Bishop Mkhori

Peter Mutharika: Presenting a gift to Mkhori.Photo: Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

Malawi’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter Mutharika, President Bingu wa Mutharika’s brother and heir apparent, has hailed  emeritus Bishop Felix Mkhori  for his contribution towards the change from one-party dictatorship under Ngwazi Kamuzu Banda to democracy.

Peter was speaking in Thyolo on Saturday when he represented President Mutharika at the special celebrations for the cleric who is celebrating the golden jubilee (50 years) of priesthood.

President Mutharika had failed to make it in time at the function as his chopper was forced to abort at Dedza in the central region district due to bad weather.

In his speech, the Foreign Affairs Minister reminded Malawians that Bishop Mkhori was one of the seven Roman Catholic Bishops who signed the Pastoral Letter which criticized the human rights abuses and power abuse of the Kamuzu regime.

Mkhori, along with the other Bishops, was placed under house arrest and condemned to death.

Mutharika said Mkhori’s bravery was one of the factors “that brought about major change” in Malawi.

He also praised Mkhori as a humble man and that he likes justice, transparency and peace.

“I have much respect for Bishop Mkhori because he does not like talking much. He is a quite person, intelligent and hard worker,” said Mutharika.

The minister who is ruling DPP presidential candidate for 2014 praise the cooperation that exists between the Catholic Church and the government.

He asked religious leaders to forgive government if they wronged them the same as government has forgiven faith leaders.

He said it is the wish of the government to continue working closely with the Church.

In his speech, Mkhori praised President Mutharika for his support after he had retired.

He disclosed that the president sent officials to ask him if there was anything he would prefer from him as a gift. The Bishop said “anything would do” but Mutharika gave His Grace money and Bingu to help him build a house in his former diocese of Chikhwawa.

“I am very thankful to the Head of state” he said.

He also thanked his late father and mother for their role in raising him during his school days at Nankhunda minor seminary.

The Bishop also stressed that he was happy that during his time as Bishop of Chikhwawa his ambitions were materialized and that he managed to construct Mzimu Woyera minor Seminary and St Lawrence Girls secondary school.

“I am proud that now we have many girls learning at St Lawrence girls. Not only that there many ladies who are working after learning at this school, “he said.

He however, asked Malawians to remain united and pray for peace.

Cabinet ministers, Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo and other political leaders witnessed the colourful ceremony as Catholic women celebrated clad in their yellow cloth.

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