As the nation prepares to bury the late president Bingu wa Mutharika in Thyolo on Monday, religious leaders have advised the new government of Joyce Banda to implement policies that would win back donor confidence and give hope to Malawians.
Principal of the Evangelical Bible College of Malawi, Pastor Michael John Phiri, says government should implement pro-poor policies.
Phiri said Banda should put the welfare of Malawians at the heart of her policies.
“Due caution should be exercised when considering advice and support from the clergy as some calculating men in collar knowingly give diametrically misleading and unbiblical counsel (to the delight of the flesh and the displeasure of the spirit) just to solicit favours from those in political authority. The President should continue to seek Godâ€™s wisdom and prudence in all affairs of governance to ensure that the nation is on the right trajectory,” said Phiri.
Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Upper Shire Brighton Malasa advised Banda not to waste time politicking, but focus on addressing the problems the country is facing.
“People were so happy with Madame Bandaâ€™s acceptance speech in Parliament when she was being sworn in. Malawi is currently sailing in troubled waters and surely we need the government to bail Malawians out of the challenges. We have issues of governance and the rule of the law and shortage of fuel and forex. Some of the challenges we have are international and not necessarily of our own making.
“Yes, we may have made wrong decisions here and there, but Malawi needs to move forward. Realising that Malawi is not an island, or that we canâ€™t survive on our own, there is need to network with others. This shall involve contact and dialoguing with our partners and donors. We need to make peace with each other, including the donor community, for us to move forward,” said Malasa.
He said government should deal with the repressive laws that prompted donors to withdraw budget support.
Malasa said he was happy to hear that government has already engaged donors in dialogue on how to move forward on sticking issues.
But the bishop cautioned government against accepting conditions blindly just to receive donor support.
“Yes, we need their support, but we need also to value what we believe as Malawians. Malawi has always been proud of being a God-fearing nation. We canâ€™t afford to lose that integrity and reputation now,” said Malasa.
Donor nations have been pressing Malawi to legalise homosexuality, a proposal that has faced stiff resistance from faith organisations and other quarters in the country.
It is not clear how Banda intends to deal with the issue.
Nkhoma Synod general secretary Reverend Davidson Chifungo said the new government should continue with agriculture as a priority so that the country is food sufficient.
“Rural people need food first and foremost. She [Banda] has to carry out economic reforms so that the economy may be back on track as quickly as possible. She should appoint people on merit and avoid recycled politicians. Finally, she should always listen to advice, especially from the church.
“The church has no ill intention against any government and the church has no hidden agenda or any bad motive, so the church speaks on the issues that affect people. She must consult when there are issues. She should continue to be close to the people as she has always done,” said Chifungo.