Mangochi: Religious and traditional leaders in Mangochi on Tuesday appealed to politicians in the country to desist from using religion as a tool for gaining political mileage in the district.
A representative group of four religious leaders from both Islam and Christianity and one Senior Group Village Headman (GVH) made the appeal at a press briefing held at MT Lodge in the district.
The group included Sheikh Fahadi Kamsuli, Vice Chairman for Malawi Muslim Association (MAM) in Mangochi, Sheikh Abdullah Kaposa, Chairman for Mangochi Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi (QMAM), Bishop Peter Likagwa of Christian Pentecostal Church, Reverend Sonny Lufani of Baptist Church and Senior GVH Mapira.
The religious leaders said they had noted with deep concern that with 2019 polls around the corner, some politicians with high political aspirations were using religion to gain support.
We have seen religious gatherings being turned into political podiums and we have seen some politicians claiming to have a large following in the name of religion, observed leader of delegation, Sheikh Kamsuli.
It is very bad and unacceptable to mix politics with religion and as religious leaders in Mangochi, we are saying ‘No’ to this tendency and we would like to make the point clear that as we approach the elections next year, let politicians separate politics from religion, he added.
Kamsuli’s remarks were echoed by Bishop Likagwa who said Muslim and Christian communities in Mangochi had come a long way to attain the current prevailing co-existence and that they did not want that co-existence to be disrupted.
It has taken the intervention of a lot of partners and government to unite us and we won’t stand aside and watch politicians divide us again, said Bishop Likagwa, adding: Don’t take Mangochi as a field where you can test your political popularity We have been through that road before and we know how painful it is.
We have seen political parties coming and going. We have seen political leaders ruling the country and going but Islam and Christianity were, have been and shall always be there. So, why should we be made to fight because of politics? wondered Likagwa.
On his part, Sheikh Kaposa concurred with the two, pointing out that people in Mangochi had now embraced co-existence, a situation he described as a ‘rare and most treasured breakthrough’ and that dragging them back would be a big mistake nobody would tolerate.
Senior GVH Mapira said all traditional leaders in Mangochi would strive to protect religion, stressing on the appeal for politicians to observe the distinct line between religious and political gatherings and to let the two be independent of each other.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA