Loading
Malawi political tensions include campaign against Catholic bishop
Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika
Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The president of Malawi and his allies, in the midst of corruption, economic crisis, and a narrowing of civil liberties, have begun political attacks on churches the president sees as enemies of his government.

A rift between President Bingu wa Mutharika and the Catholic Church increased in August when Bishop Joseph Mkasa Zuza of Mzuzu in northern Malawi, gave a public speech in front of the president. The bishop, who is the head of Malawi’s bishop’s conference, said several times that those who believe themselves to be perfect and to have no need of advice are perfect fools.

The bishop intended the speech to be a general criticism of the way the country is led, but the president took it as a personal affront. He now “never misses an opportunity to attack the churches, without any respect,” Montfort missionary Fr. Piergiorgio Gamba told Fides news agency.

“There is a campaign of defamation against the Bishop, with very heavy accusations towards him and his ministry,” said the missionary, who has been working in Malawi for over 30 years.

In response, the Christian churches are showing unity in support of the bishop. In the Catholic Church, Fr. Gamba said, religious men and women and the entire community share “the courageous choice of their bishops.”

But the rift with the bishop is only one aspect of the discontent that is percolating in Malawi.

Opponents of President Mutharika on Sept. 21 called for people to stay indoors and not go to work because police authorities have not granted permission for a national protest demonstration despite the approval of the country’s Supreme Court.

Police said they will not protect any demonstrators, which is why protest organizers are asking people to stay away, civil rights leader Piter Chinoko told Reuters.

Opponents accuse the president of mismanaging the economy and centralizing power at the expense of the country’s democratic gains.

Activists want him to rein in government spending and sell a $13 million presidential jet. They want a ban on the import of luxury cars for government officials, a review of fuel import policies, and mended ties with aid donors who have cut funding over worries about Mutharika’s governance.

The president’s forces killed 20 people when he crushed protests in July.

Fr. Gamba reported a climate of intimidation, especially in the case of journalist Ernest Mahwayo. He was arrested for taking photographs of the president’s multimillion dollar home he is building on his farm.

“It took two days for him to be released from the police cells of Limbe, among the worst ever in the country,” the missionary told Fides.

In August, local U.N. officials negotiated an agreement to postpone further rallies but rights groups pulled out of negotiations last week when the properties of two leading activists were attacked with petrol bombs.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
23

Liturgical Calendar

October 23, 2014

Thursday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 12:49-53

Gospel
Date
10/23/14
10/22/14
10/21/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Eph 3:14-21
Gospel:: Lk 12: 49-53

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/23/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 12:49-53

Homily
Date
10/23/14
10/22/14
10/21/14