Let those who have ears hear” or “whoever has ears ought to hear”, were phraseological endings of Jesus’ teachings and sermons.
I am not a theologian. I cannot decipher the phrase’s deeper meanings. However, from the Jesus’ phraseology, we can get few lessons—having ears and having ears to hear-listening to the word and seeking understanding-paying careful heed to the word and accepting its transformation effect on us.
In the recent Catholic bishops’ Pastoral Letter, I hear them saying, unless Malawians are willing to accept the change now, all national cries on the country’s ill-being will remain empty stories. I hear them saying, keenly we can listen to Malawians’ cries, but importantly we need to hear, a call to action that emanates from hearing and letting the words change us.
On 8th April, CCAP Nkhoma Synod released a pastoral statement that encapsulated Malawians cries. On 27th April, Malawian, in large numbers, took to the street demonstrating against a number of issues that border on their well-being.
Why did Nkhoma Synod choose the title: Remaining Salt and Light in the Evil and Crooked World? The crookedness, fraudulence and evilest traits, which have characterised Malawi were highlighted. False teachings and prophecies, spiritual decay, ill-being, i.e. food insecurity, abortion cases, same sex marriages, endemic corruption among other evils.
Evils and ill-beings that have trapped Malawians into mire poverty in its multidimensional forms at the gaze of a “legitimately” elected leadership.
I hear the Catholic bishops, in A Call for a New Era in Malawi, not only calling on Malawians to reflect on their daily ills, which are disparaging realisation of a dignified life, but that Malawians ought to hear and take action. Poverty, in its multiple faces has become synonymous to Malawi. Few individuals are distributing the national cake amongst themselves, in utter disregard of other Malawians.
I hear the bishops saying, Malawians feel deceived; representative democracy, which, we hopefully fought for twenty five years ago, has been eroded by the resurgent self-aggrandizing leaders we have mistakenly ushered in power. The bishops emphatically and categorically say that Malawians must never pretend that all is well. Who is pretending that all is well? Those governing us; publicly deceiving us of prosperity; yet we are the very same people living in pangs of poverty. Unfortunately, an outsider can’t tell us our story of misery; we never pretend all is well.
I hear the apostolic voice from the bishops, a lamentation of the myriad miseries that Malawians are going through. I hear them calling for a radical change in Malawi; “let those who have ears hear”. I hear in their letter their desire for a visionary leadership for Malawi.
“Let those who have ears hear.” The current regime has deceived us enough. I hear them saying we need to cross Canaan to Israel. I hear them saying let’s not only listen to econometric terms in our understanding of human well-being. These qualitative narratives from the religious bodies, the civil society organisations, and individuals normatively tell the true story of human well-being and or ill-being. This call for a new era in Malawi, is the bishops’ wish that this state of affairs we are in, they wished it passed as early as yesterday. The nostalgia to the past regimes is a reminiscent of the taste of development that other past leaders gave Malawians; leadership that paid attention to the key sectors of health, education, agriculture, infrastructure and rural development.
In outlining the qualities of potential leaders, the Catholic bishops and CCAP Nkhoma Synod; I hear them saying the current set of leaders do not meet the set leadership criteria; they are: self-centered, selfish, self-regarding, egocentric; they do not see anything beyond themselves, beyond their cronies, their tribes and party affiliates, hence nepotistic and corrupt. I hear the bishops makingan emphatic call for a new era in Malawi; “let those who have ears hear!” n