Former Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP general secretary the Reverend Levi Nyondo has asked the synod leadership to continue reminding the new Tonse Alliance administration to fulfill the promises it made during the campaign period.
Speaking at St Andrew’s CCAP Church in Mzuzu yesterday during his farewell event after serving as the synod’s moderator for four years and general secretary for 12 years, Nyondo said Malawians are waiting for the implementation of the promises.
He said: “During the campaign, they promised us a lot of things, so we are waiting. Sometimes, it is a disease to promise that you will do something but never implement.”
Nyondo also asked the new synod general secretary the Reverend William Tembo to be a servant of the people.
The event was attended by government officials, politicians and other dignitaries, including former president Joyce Banda, Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara, Leader of Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa and Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of the Karonga Diocese.
In his remarks, Mtumbuka said it is not the clergy’s duty to criticise government but that they take up the responsibility when governments and politicians fail to perform their duties accordingly.
He said: “Our main responsibility is to preach the word of God, but when you fail us, we intervene and speak out. Although the North has produced strong politicians, it has been denied development.”
Mtumbuka further bemoaned abject poverty in the country and killings of the elderly, mostly women, on witchcraft allegations.
“Some learners walk 70 kilometres a day in Iponga, Karonga to access education,” he said.
Nyondo is remembered as one of the clergy who fearlessly criticised the immediate-past governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its leadership for some of its unpopular policies such as the quota system for selecting students to public universities.
At the peak of his reign in 2010, Nyondo was arrested by the DPP administration for publicly speaking against the quota system, among others.
During his speech, Nyondo said the DPP was wrong to arrest him but that he had forgiven the party.
Ironically, Nankhumwa in his speech described the relationship between DPP and Nyondo as cordial.
“Although, as you have heard, there were some other hiccups here and there. But [the Reverend] Nyondo was a force to reckon with and spoke out fearlessly in his time as general secretary of the synod.
“Livingstonia Synod has been key in pointing out some of the negatives or ills of government; hence as Tonse government is in power, the synod should also rise up and speak the truth when it goes wrong,” he said.
On her part, Banda said she was sent by President Lazarus Chakwera to thank Nyondo for his fearless spirit and courage in standing as a champion for peace and justice.
“Reverend Nyondo was not moved and captured, he stood as a servant of God on behalf of the poor in the country,” she said.
The former president described Nyondo’s arrest in 2010, something that resulted from his stance to defend the Constitution as he had stated that she was the country’s rightful vice-president at a time when she had fallen out with then president Bingu wa Mutharika.
Tembo said the clergy will continue to speak out against social ills.