Differences have risen between CCAP Synod of Livingstonia and governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) over the appointment of the Reverend Clifford Baloyi as a commissioner of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
The synod said it was not consulted about the appointment and accuses DPP of attempting to bring divide and rule in its fold.
But DPP has dismissed the synod’s position, saying it proposed Baloyi’s name as an individual and not as a church cleric or employee of the synod.
President Peter Mutharika appointed Baloyi alongside seven other new MEC commissioners early this month for a four-year term and the reverend is one of the four commissioners representing the ruling party in the electoral body.
However, Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Livingstonia Synod general secretary the Reverend Levi Nyondo argued in an interview on Wednesday the party needed to consult the church before proposing Baloyi’s name.
He said the reverend was an employee of Livingstonia Synod and the party needed to respect that fact.
Said Nyondo: “It is unfortunate. Don’t they know he is a fulltime employee of the church? That is bringing divide and rule because they have to respect the employees of the church.
“We were not consulted neither have we recommended him… because how can a minister become partisan? Government should also know that we have got the powers to say no to his appointment and, if he goes ahead, it means he will not be our employee but we don’t want that. What we want is contact and dialogue which government is not open to.”
He said Baloyi’s fate would be known once the synod’s executive committee meets in few days time to map the way forward.
This is the second time government has appointed a Livingstonia Synod cleric after the Reverend Maxwell Mezuwa Banda who served in the immediate past MEC.
But Nyondo clarified that Mezuwa Banda’s services were recommended by the synod after government approached it for consideration.
Nyondo also said Baloyi was yet to brief or seek authority from the synod about his appointment.
Baloyi is currently serving as principal hospital administrator of Ekwendeni Mission Hospital in Mzimba, which belongs to the synod.
Last week, he could not be reached for comment as he was reported to be abroad.
But DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila said there was no need for his party to consult the synod because Baloyi was selected in his individual capacity.
“Reverend Baloyi was proposed as an individual not as a cleric of Livingstonia Synod, therefore, we had no reason to consult the synod,” he said.
Besides Baloyi, DPP is also represented in the commission by Jean Mathanga, Moffat Banda and the Reverend Killion Mgawi. Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and People’s Party (PP) have one representative each despite having numerical superiority in Parliament over DPP’s partner, United Democratic Front (UDF), which has two.