Flocking of MAM 2011 Elections’ Losers to other organisations Raises More Fears than Hopes

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Lacking support from his allies

On every election or competition, the participants expect two things – to either win or lose.

Nevertheless, the most important, yes, very commendable thing for the losers to do at the end is to accept the defeat and give their support to the winners.

This is good, as it strengthens unity and brings peace and tranquillity in any society.

Last year, Malawian Muslims witnessed historical Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) elections, which was held on April 30 at Mpingwe Hall in Limbe, a sense that they pitied Muslim heavyweights in the names of Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad, Sheikh Imran Sharif, Sheikh Muhammad Uthman, Sheikh Ali Kennedy and Sheikh Imran Idrissu were fighting for the chairmanship role.

As they say Allah choses whom He wills, Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad won the elections with the landslide story – past dribbling another hot contender Sheikh Imran Sharif who became second.

After the elections, everybody was happy. For the winners, it was all chanting and jubilation while for the losers it was just a matter of accepting defeat.

The most interesting part was that those who failed to make it, sent congratulatory messages to the winners especially to Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad who grabbed the hot seat.

However, few months down the line, contrary to what the losers promised that they would work with the elected Muslim Association of Malawi MAM leadership, most figures have either formed or joined other organisations – the move, which other people think is apparently aimed at frustrating and fighting the Muslim’s mother body.

The frustrating motive was notably observed when some of them made an issue with the postponement of the National Islamic Ijtma Committee (NIJC) to conduct a national Ijtma due to lack of resources.

The national chair for MAM Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad whose organisation provides an oversight role on the organisation of the Ijtma, instructed the Committee to cancel all Ijtima preparations last year due to what was described as lack of funds.

One of the organisations that openly criticised the postponement of the Ijtima is the Supreme Council of Ulama in Malawi whose leadership capitalised on the announcement and told Radio Islam Malawi that they were dismayed and that the Supreme Council would take over NIJC’s role saying MAM had failed.

The Council’s sentiments did not go well with some organisations and other individuals – forcing them to think that the sudden change of leadership at the Ulama Council and dethroning of Grand Mufti Abbas Cassim from the chairmanship role had a hidden agenda.

Sheikh Kawinga congratulating MAM Chair Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad after winning last year’s elections

However, speaking in an exclusive interview with the Malawi Muslims Official Website, chairperson of Muslim Forum for Democracy and Peace (MUSFOD-Peace) Sheikh Jafar Kawinga said what those who failed MAM’s elections are doing is as an indication that some Muslims do not realise that leaders are chosen by Allah.

Kawinga says it is sad to see some people still want to be leaders by trying to join other organisations instead of giving their skills and ideas to MAM as one way of reviving the Muslim’s mother body.

”In Islam, there is no opposition, we are supposed to work together for the benefit of the ummah. There are many things that we should concentrate on rather than spending our time on issues that won’t take us anywhere,” he said.

Sheikh Kawinga then said his organisation has come up with a deliberate initiative aimed at bringing together Islamic organisations and prominent Muslim Scholars.

”We want to see Islamic organisations cooperating in their activities for the betterment of Islam. We have seen that lack of cooperation is deterring development and we want that to be stamped out,” he said.

What and how it will be implemented, it is the question that many people might be asking themselves – as it is not the first organisation to come up with such an idea but it has always failed.

One of the organisations that have registered a high number of new entrants is Qadria Muslim Association of Malawi (QMAM).

When asked if he is aware of what makes people to join the organisation, whom most of them were in MAM executive, QMAM chair Sheikh Ali Hajj Likonde said the reason is simple – attainable vision and organisation’s good leadership.

He claims that unlike MAM, his organisation has policies which gives members freedom to express their views and are given a chance to take part in decision-making process.

“I founded this organisation because of segregation which exists in MAM. MAM had a tendency of putting much concentration on other sects—leaving qadria outside, the element that I think still exists up to now. So, I think that is why other people are flocking to our organisation because they know that we represent all Muslims in the country without looking at which area, district or tribe they are coming from,” Sheikh Likonde told Malawi Muslims Website.

On rumours that some of the people who have joined the organisation were conspiring to remove him from the seat and that his organisation might turn into a grouping of full of recycled ‘politicians’, Likonde had this to say:

“They can’t! If that is their agenda then they are playing a losing game because the positions they are holding cannot have that power to remove me. It is only executive that can remove me from the position but not them,” he said.

Reports have it that some of the organisation’s new members had a secret meeting in Blantyre to plan on how they can remove Sheikh Likonde from the chairmanship role, citing being vocal as one of the major reasons.

Sheikh Likonde has been accused of his alleged ‘destructive’ speeches that other people think that if left unattended may create some divisions in the Muslim community.