Cracks have emerged in the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), a member of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), with some members accusing their mother body of not consulting the membership when called to attend PAC’s governance meetings.
On the other hand, other members of MCC hold the view that the council’s representatives in the PAC executive are elected and represent the group’s interests.
The issue has emerged following PAC’s decision to march and petition President Peter Mutharika and Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya to demand commitment on the tabling of Electoral Reforms Bills.
In an interview at the weekend, MCC member the Reverend Charles Mawaya expressed disappointment with MCC’s elected members that attend PAC governance meetings for their alleged failure to consult the membership when making critical decisions.
He said PAC has been known as a quasi-religious grouping that promotes dialogue, but that petitions and demonstrations provide little room for dialogue.
But MCC secretary general Bishop Gilford Matonga said in an interview yesterday MCC members that attend PAC governance meetings are elected and represent the entire membership.
While admitting that no one is consulted, Matonga said it is difficult to consult the entire membership when going to such meetings.
He said members elected to represent MCC at PAC meetings are mandated to do so and go by the consensus.
But Mawaya, in another interview yesterday, said it is wrong to assume the MCC elected members can do as they please, warning it is with such thinking that their body may end up supporting “faulty” decisions.
PAC executive director Robert Phiri said in an interview on Saturday that MCC is represented in PAC meetings by its elected members, adding there was little PAC would say about diverse views in MCC.
PAC failed to present its petition today because Lilongwe City Council officials were yet to work on some issues, pushing the presentation of the petition to Thursday.
PAC is demanding commitment on the Bills after Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu pledged to table the proposed laws in Parliament this month. However, it has emerged that Cabinet is yet to discuss the Bills; hence, they are missing from the schedule of Parliament business.
But Tembenu last week assured members of Parliament that the Bills will be taken to Parliament.
MCC was established in 1942 to promote holistic development and foster unity, peace, justice and love among the human race, according to the MCC website.