I don’t know about you, but Blantyre Synod, to use the words of fallen Raw Staffer Edward Chitsulo, is not looking good. Not at all.
The recent electoral processes—which culminated in Reverend Alex Maulana retaining the high office of the general secretary—have left the synod covered in darker veils of shame.
You see, elections elsewhere are competitive by nature. This we can all agree. Additionally, we can also all agree that you do not expect the nature of electoral competition at a synod of God to match that, say, between Peter Mutharika and Joyce Banda.
Political electoral processes are, by nature, punctuated by innuendos, mudslinging, manipulations, half-truths and, often, outright lies.
That is why when Bakili Muluzi, during a political campaign, calls John Tembo wamagazi m’manja or when the late Chakufwa Chihana dubs Muluzi wakuba, none, in his or her right sense of mind, take such things seriously. We know, from painful experiences, that political electoral processes are like that. It is nothing strange.
However, it becomes strange and newsworthy too, when an election at a synod of God gets punctuated with innuendos, mudslinging, manipulations, half-truths and, again, outright lies.
It is strange because, being a prayerful nation, we hold our religious institutions with great regard. Despite the high levels of immorality that humanity and flesh is heir to, we find solace in believing our religious institutions as captains of morality, the very definition of what is supposed to be good and true.
That is why the mudslinging, half-truths and manipulations that defined the recent electoral processes at Blantyre Synod should, indeed, worry us all.
You do not expect men of God, in their quest to retain or seek the high of office of the GS, to go public name-calling and exposing each other the way it happened prior to the recent Blantyre Synod elections. That should be left to politicians.
As humans, I don’t expect our men and women of collar to be righteous. After all, scriptures teach there is none, not even one, who is righteous.
However, I expect them to strive towards living the moral principles that the church stands for and practice it anywhere if needs arise.
They are supposed to be images of honesty, truth and righteousness as advanced by scriptures.
To be honest, it would be a mark of great deception and self delusion if I say Reverend Maulana and friends conducted themselves with the expected decorum during the recent elections.
I can say without contradiction, and bluntly so, that our reverends failed the moral duty of being the models of what the church stands for. They have failed themselves, they have failed the church and, most importantly, they have failed God.
As already said, our church, because it has been failed by its leaders, is not looking good. It has become an image of selfishness, greed, manipulations and power-hungry political pawns on the chessboard.
If this image is not nipped in the bud, the tragedy is that it will drown our church in deep seas of shame—in the process, none will take us seriously. There is nothing more painful than being an institution, or an individual, which none takes seriously.
The consequences are dire. The church in Malawi has always been critical in standing up against excesses of the State. But if you are Blantyre Synod, will you have the moral ground to accuse the State of the same things you fail to do yourself?
In wishing for Maulana’s resignation, I am not personalising the argument. As a general secretary, a leader, he could not have allowed to manage an election defined by immorality. He could have been the first to go public and denounce every allegation of candidates being funded by politicians. I am saying he could have been the first person, Reverend Maulana, to communicate with all the delegates, in time, and clarify on the voting procedures.
Look, when you are GS of Blantyre Synod and you are running in an election where some candidates choose to stay and, again, when you have some religious stalwarts such as MacDonald Kadawati and Silas Ncozana walking away, you know something is seriously wrong with your leadership.
That is why I feel Reverend Maulana, for the sake of the church’s image, should have resigned. Thank you.