National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust executive director Ollen Mwalubunju has said the on-going conflicts in faith groups have potential to dent the image of Christianity in the country.
Malawians have lately been witnessing an escalation in cases of infighting in various churches such as the Roman Catholic, Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) and Malawi Assemblies of God Church, among others.
At times, the squabbles have turned physical.
Last Sunday, highly incensed church leaders at Likuni Parish of the Catholic Church brandished knives and other dangerous weapons in their last ditch of attempts to resolve their differences of leadership.
Up to 10 Christians were arrested during the fracas, which pitted the parish council and members who had long-standing concerns with their leadership.
Mwalubunju, when asked to comment on the developments in the local churches, blamed the conflicts on leaders who do not want to give up power when their time is due.
He explained: “We always expect that churches should be last to engage in conflicts. However, we do note that most of the violence in our society and churches are a result of a small group of power-hungry
leaders determined to keep or gain power.”
The renowned civic educator emphasised that it is immoral and irreligious for believers to resort to physical fights when differences arise. He advised faith leaders to start listening to God’s voice.
“Conflict resolution in any setup requires an openness of heart to really feel how another feels. You forget about your own agenda and begin to see how the world appears through someone else’s eyes.
“In other words, your perspective as a problem solver and change facilitator is redirected to seeing the situation through the eyes of another,” said Mwalubunju.
Meanwhile, Lilongwe senior resident magistrate Shyreen Yona has stopped 19 Catholics suspected to have played a part in the Likuni Parish riot from attending any church activities until the matter is closed. n