Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), an association of the Catholic Bishops in Malawi, have observed that poverty levels are worsening under the Tonse Alliance government, President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, is leading.
Through their pastoral statement titled “A Call to Hearken to the Cry of Poor Malawians’ and issued on Monday, October 10, 2022, the Bishops have also expressed disappointment with the current bickering and politicking among Tonse Alliance partners ahead of the 2025 elections instead of resolving the social and economic problems that are weighing down ordinary Malawians.
ECM president Most Reverend George Desmond Tambala has signed the statement together with his vice Bishop Monfort Stima of Mangochi Diocese, Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusa of Blantyre Archdiocese, Right Reverend Peter Musikuwa of Chikwawa Diocese, Right Reverend Martin Mtumbuka of Karonga Diocese, Right Reverend John Ryan of Mzuzu Diocese and Right Reverend Peter Chifukwa of Dedza Diocese.
The Catholic Bishops say Malawians voted for the Tonse Alliance government on the understanding that it would provide a different leadership from the previous administrations.
“[However], Malawians have regrettably observed that its [Tonse Alliance] way of governing is characterized by internal bickering, jostling for political clout, cronyism, nepotism, focusing on narrow selfish political interests and disjointed stances on public policy by alliance partners. The situation is a serious cause for worry as it undermines meaningful development which would enhance the lives of people, especially the poor in Malawi,” reads part of the statement.
The Bishops add that majority of Malawians continue to struggle for survival despite the Tonse Alliance promising during the campaign period that they would close the gap between the poor and the rich.
“The cry of the poor gets louder and louder in Malawi each day amid worsening general inflation with biting food price increases, rising youth unemployment, rising school fees, inadequate medical services, the fuel crisis driving up transport costs, exploitation by unscrupulous traders and business people, foreign exchange shortages, and lack of effective consumer protection,” they say.
They add, “Even when such challenges as the hurricanes, Covid 19 and the war in Ukraine are factored in, our humble, but honest submission, is that we have missed out on leadership to seize opportunities, policy direction and intervention critically sought for at such times. The end result seems to be a Malawi worse off than what we were promised and looked forward to in a region where most of our neighbouring countries, affected by the same challenges, are registering meaningful human and economic progress.”
The Bishops warn that Malawians are tired of politicians who keep fighting for political power before, during, after and in between elections without regard to the development needs of the electorate.
They called upon the Tonse Alliance partners as national leaders to collectively guide the people to the attainment of a better Malawi for all.