Village head Chatire of Traditional Authority (T/A) Chikho in Ntchisi District is a dutiful Christian.
Chatire, who is in his early 70s, believes “we are created by God and His supremacy upon us cannot surpass any other power on earth.”
Due to his faith in the Lord, Chatire always turns to the Lord whenever he encounters problems. He vows that no amount of problem will make him to succumb to earthly pressures.
This is evidenced by the infamous 1949 dry spell the country experienced. It was a catastrophe that saw multitudes engaging in illicit activities such as stealing or engaging in other immoral behaviour to keep their families going. But Chatire and his family stood firmly. They opted to going without food for the sake of their Christian values.
But that was not until weeks ago, when the staunch man of God stunned people who gathered at Mlombwa Village in T/A Chikho’s area, when he likened himself and other people in the community to ‘baboons’ or ‘nkhwere’ in vernacular due to lack of a health facility in the area.
People had gathered to attend an interface meeting for various stakeholders organised by National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust to discuss progress of a stalled health facility project which the former President, Joyce Banda promised to construct in the area.
“The absence of a health facility here is a threat to our lives. It is always a problem when we fall sick and want to go to the hospital to receive medical attention as we always reach there in worse conditions. We are like baboons here,” said the chief.
He said patients have to walk about 15 kilometres to access health services at Mzandu or Kangolwa, noting that this contributes to unnecessary loss of lives due to otherwise preventable diseases.
“In Matthew Chapter 6: 25-26 the word of God says: “Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more value than they?”
In the same chapter, but in verses 27-28, the word of God continues: “Which of you can by worrying add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil or nor spin.”
These words attest that Christians should not worry whenever they are impinged but rather they should turn to God with their problems. This is synonymous to what Pastor Memory Kamunga of Kingdom Gospel Ministries in Mchinji asserts.
“Christians are God’s image and they should not look down upon themselves. They are important, they should value their life and always feel that they are important,” observes pastor Kamunga.
Referring to Genesis 2: 26, Kamunga says: “God created man in His own image and it is unChristian to call ourselves names which are meant for animals or anything unholy or something which does not have spirit”.
She said sometimes Christians lose faith when they are experiencing problems and they migrate from doing good things to bad things, noting this displeases God.
“In Jeremiah 33: 3, God is challenges us to call Him in times of tribulation, then why should we call our serves names. We need to stand firm before the Lord and see ourselves supreme because God is supreme, too,” said Kamunga.
Sheikh Alli Makalani of Cassim Uloom Mosque in Mangochi says the Qur’an also discourages people from calling themselves names or complain unnecessarily when faced with problems.
Without judging what village head Chatire did, Makalani encourages people to seek refuge in the creator when they face problems, assuring that God never fails.
But pastor Godfrey Phiri of Baptist Church observes that people were created by God with a specific purpose. He says God has everything we desire; hence he challenges Christians to direct their problems to Him, rather channelling them to fellow man. n