Malawi Bishops Urge Citizens to Vote Wisely
Catholic Bishops have today issued their 26th pastoral letter in which they stress that the need for “ a new era in Malawi” has reached a critical stage where the country can either degenerate into a failed state or rise to a unified, orderly and prosperous nation.
In the seven-page pastoral letter read out in all Catholic Parishes this morning, the bishops writing under the Episcopal Conference of Malawi say that the forthcoming presidential election, therefore, provides Malawians an opportunity to choose a leader who can save the country from collapsing.
“More than ever before, the need for ushering in a new era in Malawi has reached a critical stage where we can either degenerate into a failed state or rise to a unified, orderly and prosperous nation,” they say citing Deuteronomy 30:19 “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live”.
The bishops have thus described the qualities of the leader who, they prophesy, would best lead the country and the qualities include servant leadership, decisiveness, accountable and God-fearing.
The seven bishop-members of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi have highlighted eight issues as the current concerns and challenges that need urgent attention in the country at the moment.
These include rising tribalism, increasing political violence, rising levels of impunity, corruption and fraud, a dysfunctional public service system, the corona virus pandemic, environmental degradation and challenges relating to the holding of a credible presidential election.
“We are also concerned with the general abuse of freedom expression by political party zealots on social media by among others, fabricating all forms of falsehood, lies and rumor mongering. This calls upon all Malawians to exercise extra vigilance to ensure that the electoral process is transparent…
“Above all, it calls for a leadership that can provide appropriate direction and supervision. Our country is at crossroads. We can either choose to save our nation or destroy it. The most urgent before us is to choose a leader who can rescue it from further deterioration,” reads the letter.
The bishops say that Malawi is at crossroads and have urged Malawians to go and vote wisely to choose a leader who can rescue the country from further deterioration lest it gets destroyed.
In the pastoral letter, on challenges related to holding a credible election, the bishops raise concern with loss of public trust and confidence in the current commissioners at the Malawi Electoral Commission, inconsistency in the determination of the electoral calendar, vandalism of MEC equipment, lack of security in centres where MEC is working and defamatory reporting by the state broadcaster.
“We are deeply concerned with rising levels of impunity in some sections of our society. As we have said many times before, the killing of people with albinism, the so-called mob justice and the killing of elderly persons suspected of being witches is utterly repulsive.
“We call for speedy conclusion of these cases and a complete stop to these barbaric acts…there should be no non-selective justice when handling these cases,” reads part of the pastoral letter.
The Episcopal Conference of Malawi has also warned that Malawi risks desertification which could create food insecurity and an increased gap between the rich and the poor due to environmental degradation citing the continued plunder of the Chikangawa forest in the Northern region.
On the Corona virus pandemic, the Catholic bishops, express concern that some quarters who deny the existence of the disease and also the lack of consistency in observing precautionary measures and call on the government to provide social support for the poor in the event of imposition of restriction on mobility.