In the run-up to Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) national elections slated for August 31, 2016, some leaders have joined calls to maintain the incumbent National Chairman of the Muslim body. The latest appeal has come from Bishop Litchapa, Chairperson of Malawi Interfaith Aids Association of Malawi, MIAA for Ntcheu District, who is also Religious Leaders Chairman in the district, and Senior Chief Makwangwala of Ntcheu.
The call comes barely 2 days before Muslims go to the polls where they are expected to usher in a new National Executive Committee of MAM.
Speaking when MAM distributed maize to hunger stricken families in Group Village Headman Nsiyaludzu on Sunday August 27, Bishop Moffat Litchapa warned all Muslims not to make any mistake during the forth-coming national elections, urging them to give Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad another mandate, and described him as development conscious and visionary.
Litchapa said throughout the time he has worked together with Shiekh Idrissa in MIAA, the MAM chairman has shown great leadership qualities through his desire and policies that promote unity and religious tolerance in the country, hence strongly urging all eligible voters to allow him maintain the mantle.
“First of all I would like to thank Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad for leading by example because it is him who advised us that we need to work together. So the distribution of maize to all people in this community regardless of their religious background will go a long way to enhance unity among the community. It is therefore very important for this leadership to continue because it is the only leadership which shows its interest in promoting peace and harmony among the people of diverse religious views in this country,” he said.
The Bishop also emphasized that “there can never be a better leader than the one who encourages all people to work together in development. You may wish to know that 95 percent of Malawians are religious; Islam and Christianity have a large share in this percentage, and development cannot flourish if these two religions are not working together.”
“So my message to all those Muslims who are eligible to vote is that they have to vote for Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad because he is the only leader who values unity and religious tolerance,” stressed Bishop Litchapa who was also speaking on behalf of Member of Parliament for the area, Hon. Malison Ndau.
Speaking at the same function Senior Chief Makwangwala also thanked MAM for distributing maize in his area.
“I am very grateful to Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) for considering my people who are affected by hunger due to the dry spell which we experienced last rainy season and I would like to ask other organisations to do the same. However, we need a lasting solution by encouraging and promoting irrigation farming in areas that have abundant water sources so that the country can become food secure,” said Makwangwala.
Makwangwala, a Christian, however expressed concern with the lack of Mosques in his area, saying he respects all religious beliefs and appealed MAM to construct more mosques observing that many Muslims have no good praying houses.
“I have many Muslims in my area. In fact, if there are more Muslims in this district they are from here. Unfortunately, there are no enough mosques,” said the Senior Chief.
On elections, he urged Muslims to give Sheikh Idrissa another chance saying he possess all qualities of a good leader.
“A leader should be the one who can listen to his people. The one who can promote unity and assist people regardless of their background. That’s what I do here. Sheikh Idrissa has proved that he is indeed a leader because he walks his talk by practicing what he preaches,” he said.
In his remarks MAM national chairman Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad said he values coexistence and religious tolerance because he knows that there can never be development without peace.
“If there is a war that is hard to end, then it is the one that emanates from religious intolerance. We have seen many countries fighting every day just because there is no coexistence and religious tolerance. But here in Malawi, we are lucky because we respect each other’s religious beliefs which is very important in development,” said Muhammad.
Over 400 hundred families in Ntcheu district have benefited from the maize distribution exercise by Muslim Association of Malawi, with funds from Revival of Islamic Heritage Society-Africa Committee led by Sheikh Muhammad Ainati from Kuwait. Ntcheu is one of the many other districts in the country where MAM has reached out with relief food, in the wake of hunger following two successive seasons of floods and drought.
MAM has since promised that it will continue to complement government’s efforts to avert the hunger situation in the country through the distribution of maize to affected households in all the districts until the next harvest.