Concerned Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Blantyre Synod clerics have accused the synod’s leadership of politicising the pulpit by campaigning for governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the forthcoming fresh presidential election.
Representatives of the concerned church ministers expressed their reservations during a press conference in Blantyre on Tuesday.
Speaking on behalf of the concerned clerics, the Reverend Donnex Mateyu Ngalande—moderator of Chileka CCAP in Blantyre and coordinator of the grouping—alleged that synod general secretary the Reverend Billy Gama invited about 95 church ministers to a meeting in Mulanje where he asked them to be campaigning for DPP’s President Peter Mutharika during their sermons in church or at funeral ceremonies.
But while Gama, in an interview on Tuesday, denied convening such a meeting, Ngalande said it is disgraceful for religious leaders to openly ask their church members to vote for a certain political party. He said church members are affiliated to different political parties.
Said Ngalande: “On 28th May, there was a meeting at Likhubula Youth Centre in Mulanje where 95 ministers from the synod attended and they were taught how best they can encourage CCAP members to vote for DPP.
“We are saying it is wrong for church members to be enticed in that manner because in church we have members who have different opinions, likings and they should be given freedom to vote based on their political understandings.”
The group’s sentiments come barely days after Blantyre Synod prison chaplain the Reverend Stanley Chimesya condemned his fellow minister Clement Dullah of Lumba CCAP in Mulanje for urging people to vote for Mutharika during his sermon at a funeral ceremony.
On Tuesday, Chimesya said he supports the group’s position, but faulted the concerned ministers for calling a press briefing before presenting their concerns to the synod leadership.
Besides Ngalande, others who attended the press conference are the Reverend Dezio Maloya of Sharpevale CCAP in Ntcheu, the Reverend Frank Mkwezalamba of Madziabango CCAP in Blantyre Rural Presbytery and the Reverend Duncan Kananji of Blantyre City Presbytery.
In a separate interview, Gama said he was not aware of the Mulanje meeting and that the synod is apolitical; hence, cannot endorse any candidate or political party.
Dulla’s video went viral last week and shows him openly telling mourners to vote for Mutharika.