MANGOCHI : Different Muslim leaders, groups and chiefs have reacted to the remarks allegedly made by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Regional Governor for the East, Julius Paipi with some clearing the embattled RG while others have faulted him, demanding an apology in the process.
Since the publication of the article in one of the weekly papers on Sunday, April 22, 2018 which purported that Paipi made ‘insensitive’ remarks at one of the party’s public meetings in Makanjira and Namwera, a series of press conferences have been called by the Muslim community in Mangochi to react to the said remarks.
The first press briefing was held on Monday and it was led by a group called Forum for Justice and Peace in the district where the Secretary for the Forum, Cassim Kasinde cleared the Governor, saying he did not in any way despise Muslims in Malawi.
Kasinde said they had thoroughly investigated the matter and that there was no evidence that Paipi had made such remarks at any of the public meetings he addressed at the two venues.
What we have established is that the Regional Governor was disputing Sidik Mia’s claims that if (MCP) Malawi Congress Party would be voted into power, Mia would bring various developmental projects and scholarships, said Kasinde.
Mr. Paipi was simply saying those developments have always been there and that we have seen people going to University of Medina, Sudan and Turkey even without Mia’s influence in any capacity, Kasinde added.
Kasinde claimed that the DPP RG had added that Mia was soliciting aid from Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries in the name of religion but diverts it to finance MCP.
Two press briefings followed on Tuesday with one in the morning by Muslim leaders from Namwera and Makanjira and another in the afternoon by Senior Chief Jalasi, Muslim leaders and members of the community where Paipi’s name was also cleared.
The morning briefing comprised Sheikh Twaibu Idana of Majuni Mosque; Sheikh James Abdullahim Matwaya, Deputy Secretary for Namwera Islamic Information Bureau; Sheikh Ibrahim Yahaya Ahmed of Namwera Masimbi Village and Brother Kanoki Mbewe of Namwera Islamic Information Bureau.
Sheikhs from Makanjira included Imam Abdullah Kazembe and Shaibu Adam of Makanjira Central Mosque and Sheikh Abdullah Yusuf Mdala, Vice Chairman of Makanjira Dawa Group.
The leaders told journalists that Paipi did not utter any remarks despising Muslims or their faith, saying if he had done so, the Muslim community and their leaders could have reacted on the spot.
I am the one who opened the Namwera DPP Bonanza event with a prayer and I followed everything to the end and nothing of the sort as the media reports claim was said, Sheikh Ibrahim Yahaya said.
We know this is a political propaganda aimed at dividing us but we refuse to bow down to such attempts because we are and we have always been one community and we live in harmony with all Christians, the cleric added.
Sheikh Yahaya’s remarks were echoed by Makanjira’s Sheikh Mdala who also claimed that he was present at the Makanjira meeting and that he had a recorded speech of Paipi where nothing of the claimed sentiments were reflected.
The same was also said at Senior Chief Jalasi’s Headquarters where the Chief, Muslim leaders and the community put their foot down, saying the Regional Governor never spoke any insensitive words warranting an apology.
How could the Regional Governor make such remarks when he had just paraded a DPP parliamentary aspirant for the constituency, Abdallah Mdala, who is a Muslim? And Muslim community in Namwera, like all other such communities, love and protect the religion and faith such that no such remarks could go unnoticed, said Jalasi.
However, on Wednesday another group of ‘Concerned Muslims told journalists at another press briefing held at Mangochi Boma that they had strong evidence that Paipi made insensitive remarks towards the Muslim community and that he (Paipi) and the DPP should apologize to people of Islamic religion.
The group of Concerned Muslims led by Sheikh Yahaya Hanafi said they had a recording of Paipi’s speech where the Governor ‘attacks a fellow Muslim by associating him with war simply because he visits Muslim countries where there is war.’
Paipi’s remarks have offended the entire Muslim community in Malawi because there is a Hadith that compels every faithful Muslim to protect a fellow Muslim when attacked in any way. So, we find Paipi’s remarks an attack to a fellow Muslim and countries where there are Muslim communities, said Sheikh Hanafi.
He added: We call upon the Regional Governor, and the DPP, to apologize to the Muslim community in Malawi and we appeal for his dismissal to prevent him from further attacks on our faith.
Hanafi said the Muslim community always appreciated the support that the country’s current leadership renders to Muslim activities, citing 2017’s Ijitima prayers where President Prof. Peter Mutharika donated K8m for the occasion and that they would like to see that relationship sustained.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA