CATHOLIC COMMISSIONS URGED TO UTILISE CHURCH RESOURCES IN THEIR MANDATE IN GENERAL ELECTIONS
BY: ECM’s Communications Office: Stella Zulu
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Research and Communication Commission, Pastoral Commission and Pontifical Mission Societies in Malawi have been challenged to make use of the rich resources the Catholic Church has locally and internationally in playing their crucial roles in the country’s general elections.
This call was made by the Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, Rev. Fr. Henry Saindi when he opened a collaborative meeting attended by the commissions’ national and diocesan Secretaries at Nantipwiri Pastoral Center in Blantyre Archdiocese.
The meeting was convened for the commissions to agree on joint working modalities and reflect on how the Church should sensitize the citizenry on the church’s teachings on good leadership. This is due to the accreditation of CCJP and Research and Communication commissions by the Malawi Electoral Commission to conduct civic and voter education in preparing the general public for 2019 tripartite elections.
“This meeting is very important to the country and the Church as the Church has always advocated for good leadership and the accreditation of the two Commissions is an opportunity that we collaboratively reflect on how best the Church can help the country achieve good leadership.” Said Fr. Saindi
He also said that Catholics are in large numbers in the country and would determine the direction Malawi can take in the coming five years through these coming elections just as the Bishops determine the course of politics through Pastoral letters in this country.
Fr. Saindi therefore urged the commissions to make use of the resources in the Church and help people understand qualities of a good leader guided by the Catholic Social Teachings.
“We have a lot of strength as a Catholic Church, we have people in large numbers as 30% of the country’s population are Catholics, we have an operational structure from national to grassroots level, we have four media houses, a Television station and two print media houses, we have materials like the pastoral letters and the Catholic Social Teachings, we have the human resource in various groups like Catholic Women Organization, Catholic Men Organization, Youth Movements, Christian Family Movements, Marriage Encounter and many other who should be utilized in advancing the agenda of the church in the civic and voter education to be conducted”. Said the Secretary General
He continued that Malawi has cried for good leadership but it has suffered bad leadership and through the meeting, the Church would like to identify issues to be advocated for during the 2019 elections which will help the people realize and understand qualities of a good leader and vote for deserving people into power for the betterment of the country and the Church.
In his remarks, CCJP Acting National Coordinator, Boniface Chibwana said indeed the commissions are mandated by the church and also the Constitution of the country to help the people understand who a good leader is and choose leaders who will serve Malawi better.
“Let us realize that elections are a struggle and people are called names, let’s be prepared and do our work well. Through this collaboration, we plan to develop training manuals for civic education, train the youth on civic education, do community awareness campaigns in rural areas, Radio and TV programs, and develop ICT materials among other activities which will help a lot in the electoral process. Said Chibwana
The Catholic Church finds it necessary to conduct the civic and voter education for mindset change of the masses which can help the country overcome problems of political affiliations according to one’s tribe and region, buying favors by politicians through gifts which exposes the country to bad leaders.