Centre for Development of People (Cedep) has once again attacked faith leaders, describing their acts as “hypocrisy and selfish” following Tuesday’s nationwide protests against legalisation of abortion.
In a statement issued yesterday, Cedep condemned leaders of Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) and Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) for reportedly engaging school-going children in the protests.
The organisation, citing pupils in school uniforms from Chimutu Primary School in Lilongwe and St Paul Primary in Mangochi, argued that the act was a gross violation of children’s right to education as they took part during learning hours.
“This is very unfortunate and disappointing, especially from leaders who claim to stand up for the family… You don’t protect the family by recruiting children into demonstrations during learning hours. This is hypocrisy and selfish behaviour that destroys the family rather than protecting it,” reads part of the statement.
But one of the protests’ organisers Episcopal Conference of Malawi secretary general Father Henry Saindi described Cedep’s remarks as unfortunate.
He said the Catholic Church values children’s education as demonstrated in the construction of several schools across the country.
“For many years, we have had a demonstrable record of respect for education. And if you look at the start of the march, you will appreciate that there were only adults. The said children joined the demonstrations along the way when the marchers were passing through their institutions, and that was not the plan of the organisers,” he said.
Father Saindi said the Catholic Church alone has several schools across the country and, if it wanted to mobilise and involve the students in the protests, it could have easily done so. n