Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of the Catholic diocese of Karonga has challenged Malawians to wake up from their deep slumber and start demanding answers from duty-bearers on a wide range of socio-economic ills affecting the country.
Mtumbuka, who chairperson for Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), was speaking in Lilongwe on Thursday when the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) held an advocacy meeting with religious mother bodies on local development resources management.
According to Mtumbuka, most Malawians seem not to have been provoked or annoyed enough resources as evidenced by a lay-back attitude and silence on such matters.
Said the bishop: “As a family person, if someone told you that you are the third or last most stupid person in the village, are you not going to get angry to hear that? I think the idea that as a country we are the third poorest in the world should make Malawians angry. Instead, politicians tell us that Malawi is a star-performer. ”
What is worrisome, observed Mtumbuka, is that it is the poor of the poorest in the villages who pay the ultimate price when government resources are squandered and; therefore, urged citizens to stand up for vulnerable groups of people.
Some of the factors that have contributed to the mess in district councils, according to Mtumbuka, include weak supervision and political interference.
He also took a swipe at chiefs for milking councils through fuel, accommodation and pocketing allowances when, in fact, he said traditional leaders have no role to play in councils.
Mtumbuka also urged Malawians to speak out on malfunctioning public delivery systems such as health, education and agriculture if the country is to see change.
In his contribution, advocacy officer for Evangelic Association of Malawi (EAM) Matchona Phiri stressed on the need to sensitise and civic educate the masses on their roles in following up on how funds used by councils.
During the meeting, ECM which is implementing a three-year project called ‘Citizen Action in Local Government Accountability’ (Calga),funded by Irish Aid through Dan Church Aid, shared a report of its findings.
PHOTOGRAPH: NTCHINDI MEKI