Nkhoma Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), whose main catchment area is the Central Region, has advised Malawians to choose a leader who is accountable and transparent, without self-gratification and willing to win people without resorting to handouts.
Nkhoma Synod’s pastoral letter, titled Renewal and Regeneration of Our Nation: A Call for Church Responsibility released throughout its 1 500 prayer houses yesterday, also condemned various societal vices such as theft of public resources, poor access to justice, food insecurity and lack of equitable distribution of power and national resources.
Citing several passages from the Bible, the synod asked the flock to guard their voter registration certificates jealously and outlined qualities of a good leader.
While not necessarily mentioning names of their favourite candidate, the synod has discounted candidates with a track record in promoting tribalism and regionalism and those who are winning people through handouts.
Reads the letter in part: “In light of the experience we have and are going through, the choice before us is not a simple choice. It is not an ordinary choice either. It is the choice between life or death, between accountable, transparent and responsive leadership and government or the same old habits of plunder, looting and mismanagement of public resources.”
The synod said the leader should not be a liar or foul-mouthed. The synod adds that the leader should be reliable and visionary.
The synod asked the flock and Malawians to do soul-searching as the country marks 50 years of independence and choose leaders who would not reduce Malawians to beggars relying on handouts but self-reliant and food secure.
“The synod has been encouraging members that there should be equitable distribution of public positions in public sector and government institutions without regard to region of origin or political affiliation. This letter is a reminder to those who will be elected in the May 20 Tripartite Elections that Malawi is a nation of people of different backgrounds and we have hope that positions will be distributed equitably,” the letter reads.
Commenting on Cashgate, the synod claimed it was aware that post-democracy in the 1990s, there has been rampant theft of government resources and the recent revelations of civil servants enriching themselves had just confirmed their fears.
The synod condemned government for not coming out clearly with details of perpetrators of theft of billions from government resources.
The synod said the next government should put in place visionary financial experts with integrity so that Cashgate never happens in the country.
On food security, the Nkhoma Synod has coincidentally toed the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) line that the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) has not benefited all Malawians.
But the ruling People’s Party (PP) has said the pastoral letter is not talking about their presidential candidate, Joyce Banda, because she had demonstrated her will to fight corruption and help those struck by natural disasters such as hunger.
PP deputy publicity secretary Ken Msonda said Malawians should be careful with leaders who started helping people in the run up to the elections, not Banda who had demonstrated love for her people.
Democratic Progressive Party spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said they would respect the advice from the church in its role as the conscience of the people through pastoral letters which are meant to guide them.