The Catholic Church in the country has urged other churches to increase their efforts in providing civic and voter education (CVE) to their faithful ahead of the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Chairperson of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusa, who also heads the Archdiocese of Blantyre, observed that Malawi has reached a critical point when citizens need to decide their destiny through wise selection of the leaders.
Msusa made the remarks during a meeting held at Msamba Pastoral Centre in Lilongwe on Wednesday.
The meeting, which the Pastoral Commission and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) organised to brief faith leaders on emerging issues towards the polls, drew participants from the five religious mother bodies, which include ECM, Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi (Qmam), Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) and Malawi Council of Churches (MCM).
“We are not siding with any leader or political party. We are aligning ourselves with the people and as religious leaders we will guide them in choosing a leader with good qualities to transform their lives and this country,” said Msusa.
He added: “We will denounce divisions and violence and continue to pray for peace anytime before, during and after the elections. We must build a country in which all people live in harmony and prosperity.”
He emphasised that the coming together of the faith leaders demonstrates the unity and co-existence that all Malawians must emulate during the whole electoral period so that the polls are smooth, free, fair and peaceful.
Qmam vice-chairperson and publicity secretary Sheikh Amir Jaafar Kawinga, said Malawians must build up on the country’s reputation as a peace-loving nation by conducting peaceful elections.
“Honestly, we Malawians are already co-existing and tolerant of each other in many things. These elections should not divide or bring conflicts among us. Instead, they should help us to build and consolidate our democracy,” emphasised Kawinga.
EAM’s Reverend Charles Makata said his body will intensify prayers and encourage its believers to turn up in large numbers on the voting day to usher into office new good leaders.
The representatives of the religious institutions concluded their meeting by drawing up a 16-point statement, committing themselves to the implementation of their resolutions ahead, during and after the elections.
The faith leaders further committed themselves to periodically address the nation on elections-related matters and call for the independence of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra).
The religious leaders also agreed to use their faith-based radio and television stations to sensitive voters on qualities of a good leader. n