Lilongwe (Agenzia Fides) - "Enough with corruption and political disputes that block the Nation". This is the meaning of the Pastoral Letter of the Bishops' Conference of Malawi which was read on March 6, the first Sunday of Lent, in the country's churches.
The Bishops say that the new leadership of President Lazarus Chakwera, who won the 2020 elections, has plunged the country into endless political disputes, especially between the parties that make up the ruling Alliance. "These disputes present public opinion with a lack of cohesion within the Alliance and a sense of lack of direction", they say in the letter published 30 years after by another pastoral letter that helped Malawi to move from a one-party system to a multi-party system.
The Bishops also say it is worrying that a President who has campaigned against corruption continues to keep his ministers and staff involved in corrupt practices. The letter does not cite specific examples, but in January, President Chakwera, who had already dismissed two ministers implicated in cases of corruption or abuse of power, did not dismiss Agricultural Resources Minister Kezzie Msukwa, for more than three weeks after his arrest for being implicated in a scandal involving the granting of plots to foreign businessmen. Another issue highlighted by the bishops is the inability of the government to stop the looting of public resources by foreign nationals in collaboration with corrupt politicians and officials. The bishops are also concerned about the interference of the office of the President and the cabinet in the operation of businesses and state organizations.
"The office of the President - the Bishops accuse - has become a source of inefficiency and mismanagement of the public service". On March 4, in the capital Lilongwe, the police dispersed a demonstration of several thousand demonstrators with tear gas who had gathered to present a petition in which they denounced the corruption. The organizer of the demonstration, Joshua Chisa Mbele, at the head of the NGO Citizens Against Impunity and Corruption, denounced the brutality of the police reaction against what, according to him, were "peaceful" protesters. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 8/3/2022)