We have not endorsed JB, synod clarifies

Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central African Presbytery (CCAP) has come out strongly against media reports that it has endorsed the country’s Vice President Joyce Banda as its presidential candidate in the 2014 general elections.

Over the week, the media has been reporting that the Synod Deputy General Secretary Reverend Morris Munthali told a congregation during a church service at Zolozolo CCAP Church in Mzuzu on Sunday that it will back Banda’s bid for presidency during the 2014 elections.

The media quoted Rev Munthali saying he was endorsing the vice president on behalf of Livingstonia synod, because the synod believes that Banda keeps the keys to unlock Malawi’s fortunes.

Joyce Banda attended church service in Mzuzu

His public declaration, however, received public criticisms, particularly from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) sympathizers, who wondered whether the church had becoming “a political grouping.”

But on Thursday, the Reverend clarified his point saying he never endorsed Banda during his sermon but merely wished her and her party well. Banda heads the Peoples Party (PP).

Said  Rev Munthali: “It was never an endorsement. I am actually wondering with the media’s interpretation.”

“I only wished her well as she focuses on her bid for 2014 presidency,” he clarified.

He said there was no way he could by himself endorse Banda when the synod has not even met to discuss anything of that sort.

“This is not the first time we have wished a politician well. All political party leaders, including those from the ruling DPP come to pray with us and we have always wish them well the way I did,” he said.

The Reverend, however, said he saw nothing wrong in wishing her well in her bid because there is no diving line between a church and politics.

“Livingstonia Synod is not equals to PP [Peoples Party]… There is no diving line between a church and politics because politics is about people and those people are found in churches,” said Munthali.

He also wondered why people condemned the church after declaring its support for People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) candidate Peter Chihana during the September 6, 2011 Rumphi Central by-election.

“The Synod saw the entire process of PDM’s formation and we cannot be hypocritical today and say we do don’t want PDM,” he pointed out.

During the polls, PDM candidate eventually came last out of the four political parties’ candidates that contested in the race. Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) aspirant Enock Chihana won the seat.

But the vice president has said on several occasions that she is only leading PP and people have to wait for the party’s national convention slated for June next year to see who will be declared Peoples Party 2014 presidential candidate.

The ruling DPP, which is now six years old (formed in early 2005), has never held any convention and its leader President Bingu wa Mutharika has already handpicked and endorsed his brother Peter as the 2014 presidential candidate.

President Mutharika appoints all the positions in his party and indications show that it is not ready to go to a convention.

Vice President Joyce Banda said that although she founded the party, she is willing to contest with anybody for the candidacy position in the party for the 2014 Presidential polls.

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