Perpetrators of political violence during the electoral process should repent and get converted or face God’s wrath on judgment day, founder of the Rejoice New Life Covenant Church Bishop Manuel Kazonda has warned.
He sounded the warning on Saturday at a meeting the National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust organised to explore how best faith and political leaders should work together in diffusing politically-motivated aggression in Thyolo North constituency as Malawi heads to the Tripartite Elections.
Quoting 1 Timothy 1:1 -6, the cleric explained that God wills undeserved kindness, mercy and peace among people of all nations and that any deliberate attempt to frustrate this [will] to gain political mileage shall attract the Creator’s wrath.
“Before being political leaders, you are believers and therefore, mandated to have unfeigned love for mankind and keep away from any sort of hypocrisy in your dealings. Faith mandates you to love out of a clean heart, out of a good conscience and out of faith without hypocrisy,” he stressed.
Kazonda challenged that the onus was on politicians to end hostilities by practising civilised politics and stop promoting genealogies.
He observed that some politicians use genealogies to justify the formation of a new party and beg for public sympathy based on tribe, region and language.
“And that is the more reason why we have more parties in a small country than they have in the United States. Much as faith leaders have the role to admonish evil, the responsibility still falls on politicians to entrench democracy by accommodating dissenting views. Our intervention will be in vain if there is no genuine love among politicians,” said the bishop.
In their remarks, representatives of various political parties at the meeting pledged to propagate civilised politics to save the country from bloodshed.
Nice district civic education officer (DCEO) for Thyolo, Moses Kaunda said his organisation has roped in faith leaders in their civic and voter education programmes to achieve issue-based campaigns for politicians and help choose leaders based on their sound manifestoes.
Nice and police recently designated the constituency a violence-prone area following a series of clashes between members of the ruling People’s Party (PP) and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Tensions have subsided over the past months, according to Bvumbwe Police officer-in-charge Ken Wetcha.