There has been a mixed reaction among Christians in Malawi after the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika was leaked http://www.malawidemocrat.com/politics/bingu-wa-mutharika-is-dead/ (as I write the government is still tight-lipped).
There are those Christians who are openly grateful about the death of the president. The President’s blatant abuse of human rights and disregard to the rule of law, which are well documented on this site (and they need not be recited again in this article) being some of the reasons for the merriment.
And there are those Christians who have condemned the cerebrations of the death of the President declaring saintly, “The death of any individual is a sad occurrence and must not be greeted with happiness”. They have gone further to question the spirituality of those Christians who are happy that the President is dead.
Such sentiments remind me of the obstacles Christians generally face, from within the cohort of fellow believers, when fighting injustice anywhere in the world.
Those of us who have been raised with a respect for authorities and a Romans 13 respect to government officials must, if we are going to seek biblical justice, accustom ourselves to the unsettling reality that those who have power and authority are capable of abusing that power and they go to great lengths to lie about it. This is well and truly what the President Mutharika did during his second term in office.
It must be added that as Christians we are not called to unreasonable disrespect for those in authority. To the contrary, Christians are to render to leaders their due, pray for them and submit to their authority as they exercise it in accordance with God’s will.
But at all times, rules and authority remain fallen creatures capable of great and dark sin. Kind David not only abused his authority to steal Uriah’s wife, he also ended up murdering Uriah to cover it up. Thank God, Nathan had to expose the lie.
Understandably the obvious need for us to confront deceitful rulers and to challenge unlawful authorities may make us uneasy, but such was the daily food of the Prophets in the Old Testament. God’s means of fighting evil remain the same – choosing some among us to speak out!
Christians looking for “spirituality” will want to skip such passages in the Bible where God killed evil leaders and take cover under such scriptures as “do not judge”.
When we hear God’s call to enter the struggle for justice, we must remember the profound biblical truth that evil leaders have to be rebuked in no uncertain terms. Speaking against evil leadership is often a dangerous and lonely calling. However, as Peter and the other apostles said, “We must obey God rather than men!”
As far as the demise of the Malawi President is concerned, I join those who are standing by Proverbs 11:10 “The whole city celebrates when the godly succeed; they shout for joy when the wicked die.”
*Cryton Chikoko is a Barrister-at-Law, ex-broadcaster and ex-dentist. He has Masters’ degrees in Law, Media and Theology. He tweets latest UK legal news @cryton (https://twitter.com/#!/Cryton