A Cabinet minister last week made animalÃ‚Â offerings to God to spare the life of Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika, First Lady Callista and other members of the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s family.
Sheikh Uthman Ibrahim, who conducted the ceremony, said Yunus Mussa, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development offered three goats to seek GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s protection of the lives of the first couple and their family in light of a reported prophesy by Nigerian prophet TB Joshua that an African president would fall sick and eventually die.
The offering was made at Mai Aisha ChildrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Home in Area 5, Lilongwe on Wednesday, February 8.
In a recorded interview, the sheikh said Mussa went to the orphanage with seven people, including his body guard and MBC-TV crew.
Said the sheikh: Ã¢â‚¬Å“He gave an offering of three goats, one for the President, one for the First Lady and the other for the family so that, through that sacrifice, God can protect them. I was asked to speak [to MBC-TV] and I said that there is no one who knows when another person will die.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s secret which was not revealed to anyone. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe that such things can happen because everybody has his own time of dying…In Islam, we do not tolerate wishing other people bad. It is wrong for some people to wish others dead. As Malawians, we should not wish others bad.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ibrahim said after some short prayers, the meat was cooked and shared among 315 orphans and 31 women who look after the orphans at the centre run by Lilongwe Islamic Movement.
Chairman of Lilongwe Islamic Movement, Ibrahim Choonala, who also attended the ceremony, on Tuesday said the function took about an hour from 11:30 am to about 12:30 pm.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He [Mussa] approached us, saying that he wanted to offer sacrifice and we said there was no problem because we have orphans who could eat the goat meat. He asked for our sheikh to slaughter the goats and that was done.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He said as Muslims normally do when a person is facing problems, we should offer sacrifice to God because His Excellency is facing some problems. Some people are wishing him bad luck,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Choonala.
During the week, Mussa could not be reached on his phones. Weekend Nation did not find him on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at Parliament.
When contacted on Thursday, his officials said he was not in office and asked Weekend Nation to call after 10 minutes. When called later, they did not pick up their phones.
MussaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s deputy, Reverend Christopher Ngwira on Thursday said his boss was on duty at some place within the country and he could sometimes not be reached because of network problems.
MussaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s personal assistant Edward Kandidziwa on Thursday said the minister was in a long meeting at the State House.
Presidential spokesperson Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba said it was irresponsible to link TB JoshuaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s prophecy to Mutharika, saying prayers for the good health of presidents are normal in all countries.
Said Ntaba: Ã¢â‚¬Å“If itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just a prayer that we want God to spare our President from any trouble; we want him to be in good health; we want him to live a long life; those prayers are going on all the time anywhere.Ã¢â‚¬Â