President Chakwera says churches government’s key development partners

Malawi leader Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has asked churches to continue serving the country by being “exemplary” and “truthful” by what they preach, adding that churches have – over the years – been key development partners to the government.

He said on Sunday, August 23, 2021 in Mzuzu that churches in the country complimented government efforts in such aspects as health, education and social services delivery.

President Lazarus Chakwera bids farewell to Emiritus Bishop Biggers after attending Anglican silver jubilee of the Northern Diocese in Mzuzu on Sunday (C) Govati Nyirenda

“The Church has always been committed to the country’s development [and we appreciate] the cordial relationship that exists between the church and government,” said Chakwera at Mchengautuba in the northern region city of Mzuzu where he was guest of honour for the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Anglican Diocese of Northern Malawi as well as the founding bishop of the diocese, Bishop Emeritus Rev Jackson Biggers.

According to Chakwera, he was personally thankful to the Church for praying and offering wise counsel to him and his government in a number of aspects.

“I am deeply thankful to the Anglican Church for its holistic approach in service delivery, such as the church’s involvement in the sectors of education, health and social work in child protection.

“I, therefore, ask the church to continue helping the government by disseminating the right messages on emerging issues affecting the country for the citizenry to make right and informed choices.

“Spread messages that will build Malawi and avoid instilling fear in people but instead give the message of hope on emerging issues such as Covid-19 that things will get back to normal someday,” Chakwera said.

Speaking earlier, Northern Malawi Diocese proprietor, Bishop Emanuel Magangani, called on the citizenry to seriously consider getting jabbed against the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Government should be commended for making available the vaccine to all Malawians while allowing people to make their own decision whether to be vaccinated or not. Government has played its part,” said Mangani while quoting Ezekiel 33 vs 1-6.

He said: “If some people choose not to take vaccination their blood will be in their hands.”

According to him, the celebration reminded the diocese of the need for them to be mature, adding that maturity involves taking responsibility in supporting the church’s own work instead of depending on donor support.

Mangani also commended the government for exempting religious organisations from duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) on construction materials in the 2021/2022 national budget.

“The gesture symbolises that the government cares about the work and values of religion towards the country’s development. We are also thankful to you [President Chakwera and your government] for the Affordable Input Program (AIP) as it has proved remarkable food security in the country,” said Mangani.

But he said he was concerned with the hike in fertiliser prices where – at present – a fifty-kilogram bag is selling at K40 000.

“The prices continue to soar, and the government should intervene for the benefit of local farmers,” Mangani pointed out.

Anglican Council in Malawi (ACM) chairperson, Alinafe Kalemba, said the president’s attendance at the function signified the cordial relationship that exists between the church and government.

“Government and the church serve the same people and it is important for us to work together and we pledge to continue working together with the government,” Kalemba said.

The Anglican Diocese of Northern Malawi was established in 1995 with Bishop Jackson Biggers as its first Bishop.

Some of the notable faces that attended the event include former president Joyce Banda and her husband retired chief justice Richard Banda, former vice president Khumbo Kachali and Reverend William Tembo – general secretary of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia.

~Additional reporting by Salome Gangire, Malawi News Agency.

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