Vice-President Saulos Chilima says religious leaders in the country should be champions of mindset change among their followers to help Malawi register economic growth.
Speaking on Thursday during a faith-based conference at Sunbird Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi, the Vice-President said religious leaders are critical agents in society because of their influence.
He said: “Religious leaders are important organs in our communities. Whatever they tell their followers comes to effect. In short, their voice sways the community.”
Chilima, therefore, advised the faith leaders to instil a spirit of hard work among their followers rather than preaching about miracles which, he observed, promote laziness among people.
Said the Vice-President: “Change is the best approach Malawians can take towards the dream of making Malawi a prosperous nation, in line with the Malawi 2063 Development Agenda [MW2063]. I would be happy if there could be a vaccine on mindset change because out of that, our nation could do better.”
He further called on religious leaders to act as a “voice of the voiceless”, advising them to avoid being used by politicians for personal gains or glory.
“Don’t be praise worshipers. Instead question government when things go wrong. A leader must always demand an explanation when things go wrong and also must be able to give appraisal when things go well,” said Chilima.
In his remarks, Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire Bishop Brighton Vita Malasa said religious leaders can indeed help in the development of the country through mindset change.
“We the religious leaders are important to the development landscape of the country. Now, when we are talking about mindset change we need them to take a lead,” he said.
On his part, Sheikh Dinala Chabulika of Muslim Association of Malawi said religious leaders have the potential of changing the society for the better or for the worse.
He said mindset change should start with the leaders themselves before passing it on to followers.
Said Chabulika: “Change can happen if we leaders can start changing ourselves so that our deeds should really suit whatever we preach to our followers.”
He took advantage of the conference to ask both Muslims and Christians to nurture the peaceful co-existence and unity that exists between the two religions, saying these are critical to the development of the country.
In his remarks, Malawi Institute of Management board chairperson Lewis Dzimbiri said the workshop was designed to build leadership capacity among faith leaders to become viable instruments of transforming the country in line with MW2063.
The conference was organised under the theme Transformative Religious Leadership: The Pathway to Growth Mindset Change. n