Centre for Development of People (Cedep) has trashed the impending nationwide demonstrations by the faith community against legalising abortion, saying the church should better focus on prevailing challenges than abortion.
Two of the country’s major religious groups—Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) and Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM)—announced plans two weeks ago to stage the demos across the country on December 6 2016.
In their strong-worded statement, the faith groups argued that the demonstrations were organised because life, family and marriage are under direct attack.
But in direct response through a statement issued yesterday, Cedep said while the churches have the right to demonstration, they need to be reminded that Malawi is a secular State, as such, they cannot impose their beliefs on the entire society.
Cedep said civil society organisations (CSOs) were aware that the faith groups just want to divert Malawians’ attention from the sufferings they are going through.
“We have blackouts, water shortages, our economy has crumbled, corruption is on the increase and the government is not concerned either.
“These are the issues that EAM could have demonstrated against. To make sure that the President and his DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] administration are able to solve the social economic challenges that Malawians are going through,” reads part of the statement which specifically blames EAM.
Cedep then advised the faith groups to mobilise Malawians and demonstrate against lack of drugs in hospitals, loss of business due to power failure and unemployment instead of abortion.
EAM general secretary Reverend Francis Mkandawire, who co-signed the demonstrations statement alongside his ECM counterpart Father Henry Saindi, faulted Cedep, saying it was wrong for the rights-based organisation to insinuate that Malawi was a secular State when all along it had been guided by Christian values.
“But whatever the case, we are proceeding with the demonstrations because what we want is to protect the unborn child.
“This is not a cheap issue. We are talking about someone’s life, we want to protect the life as well as family. If Members of Parliament approve this bill it will means shedding of blood of innocent children. It will also be tantamount to genocide and an open defiance against God,” he said.