Blantyre, Malawi, Sep 21, 2011 / 23:05 pm
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.