By: Stella Zulu Kaferapanjira

The Catholic Bishops in the country have called on all the faithful and indeed all people in the country to observe peace, as the Constitutional Court is to deliver its judgment on the Presidential Election Case on Monday, 3rd February 2020.

According to a statement by the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), titled “Call for Peace and Respect for the Rule of Law” The Bishops have said Peace is the only true direction for human progress and development built on the foundation of respect for the rule of law.  Therefore, it is each citizen’s moral obligation to maintain and promote peace regardless of their political, religion and ethnic affiliations.

“We, the Catholic Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) reiterate our call to all Catholics and peace loving Malawians on the importance of maintaining peace and order. Regardless of whichever way the judgment will go, regardless of the fact that we belong to different tribes, regions, political parties, religious backgrounds etc., the fact remains that after the judgment we will remain Malawians and Malawi will remain our country”. Reads part of statement

The Bishops have continued to say the need for peace reflects the aspiration of the majority of people in this country, particularly vulnerable groups like women, children and the elderly in villages who are often victims of political violence. The bishops have therefore urged those whom the judgment will go in their favor to act gracefully and avoid provocative words and actions that incite violence, and those who will not be satisfied with judgment to seek peaceful and lawful remedies citing that” Blessed are the Peacemakers for they will be called God’s children” (Mt. 5:9).

The Catholic Bishops have also shown dismay with by incidents of violence to human life manifested in the butchering of the elderly suspected to be witches or wizards which shows the state of lawlessness and disregard for the rule of law in this country.

“We Pastors of souls entrusted with the duty and responsibility of promoting and defending life graciously endowed to us by the Creator, we cannot remain silent in the face of this clear and direct violation of human life. While we condemn this vice in the strongest terms, we call upon duty bearers to take urgent measures to reverse the situation and demonstrate that their first and ultimate constitutional duty is to protect and defend life of all including the elderly. Continues the Bishops’ Statement

The Bishops have therefore called upon Law enforcers to pursue justice and the Parliament to enact laws and policies that would create an environment where rights of all citizens, including the elderly are protected and defended.

In the statement, the Bishops also expressed their concern about the state of poverty and hunger in this country citing limited youth employment and economic opportunities, and increased gap between the rich and the poor as few indicators.

“The so-called economic gains the country has registered have not translated into improved living standards for the poor people in rural areas. We are saddened by reports that about 1.8 million people face hunger this year. We find it sinful to hoard large quantities of precious commodities by vendors and individuals with the intent of benefitting from the future price increase as is the case now with maize. We therefore, call upon the Government to translate the economic gains into poverty reduction for rural people and urgently support those in critical need. Said the Bishops

The ECM has therefore asked all Catholics and all people of goodwill to continue praying for justice, peace, reconciliation, unity and love to prevail in Malawi.