Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) on Saturday took advantage of the Umthetho Cultural Festival at Hora in Mzimba to ask President Peter Mutharika not to assent to the Land Bills recently passed in Parliament amidst protest.
Synod moderator Douglas Chipofya, who strayed for 11 minutes in what was meant to be a prayer to open the event at Hora Mountain Heritage Centre in Mzimba, said government did not make thorough consultations for Parliament to discuss and pass the Bills.
He said people at the grassroots are afraid of losing land, which some of them inherited from their forefathers.
Chipofya’s sentiments were shared by leader of opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera, who is also Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, and member of Parliament (MP) for Mzimba Hora Christopher Mzomera Ngwira who were interviewed after the event.
Making reference to the book of Numbers 27: 1-11 which talks about maintaining cultural values of inheritance, Chipofya said the issue of land is crucial to Malawian culture and, as such, “inheritance of land from parents to children should not be disturbed”.
On homosexuality, Chipofya said Malawi needs to maintain its cultural values by denouncing same-sex marriages, arguing they are alien to the country.
On the other hand, the synod’s general secretary the Reverend Levi Nyondo said: “Sometimes I give distinction between Russians, Chinese and Muslims. They are very serious with their culture, but Western countries are spoiling our culture because we are poor. But Jesus is with us.”
It has almost become a norm for the synod to take advantage of the cultural celebration to comment on the prevailing issues affecting the nation. Last year, Chipofya took advantage of the same platform, in the presence of Mutharika, to launch a scathing attack on homosexuality.
However, this year, Mutharika delegated Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa to represent him at the annual event which took place for the sixth time.
In an interview later, Chakwera said the synod’s stand shows that consultations on the Bill were not done widely whereby those concerned, like chiefs, were not approached.
Ngwira said views by the synod represent the general feeling that most rural people have over the Bill.
Last week, Paramount Chief M’mbelwa IV of the Jere Ngoni faulted government for holding sensitisation meetings on the Bills after Parliament passed them. He said government should have done proper consultations before the Bills were taken to Parliament.