Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of the Karonga Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church has stopped the laity from contributing to church projects to allow them use the resources to buy food in their homes.
Mtumbuka announced the suspension at St Mary’s Parish in Karonga on Saturday when he presided over the launch of a strategic plan for the diocese which was established in 2010.
He said: “Poor Malawians are hit hard by hunger and that is why I thought it wise to suspend until March all fundraising events where people are expected to contribute more money than they do on a normal Sunday.
“Affected contributions include paper Sundays and mobilisation of funds for construction and rehabilitation of churches and other things of that nature. We hope people know what they need most and they will use the savings to overcome the prevailing food shortage,” he said.
The bishop was critical of how government is handling the deepening crisis as nearly 2.8 million Malawians face food shortage, with most Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) markets running short on maize supply; hence, forcing people to sleep there hoping to buy the commodity.
The worsening hunger pushed some speakers at this year’s Public Affairs Committee (PAC) All-inclusive Conference, including those from opposition parties, to demand the resignation of President Peter Mutharika on allegations that he has failed to tame the food and economic crises the country is facing.
Government hit back by accusing the critics of trying to hijack power through the backdoor, urging opposition parties to offer constructive ideas and work hand-in-hand with government to eradicate the decried gaps.
Besides promoting winter cropping, conservation agriculture and food diversification, the strategy plan envisages Karonga Diocese playing a leading role in upscaling Christianity, reliable health services, quality education, peace and justice even to hard-to-reach areas in Karonga, Chitipa and northern parts of Rumphi.
According to diocesan desk officer for Caritas, the church’s social arm, Tresa Imani, the blueprint sets a tone for how the diocese wants to serve the people of the three districts in the next five years.