Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM), Muslims mother body in Malawi has finally joined other quarters of the society to openly convey their displeasure with the derogatory remarks uttered by DPP Regional Governor for the Eastern Region, Julius Paipi, who is on record to have presaged a political gathering in Mangochi of an imminent carnage if they vote for a Muslim, in direct reference to Sidik Mia.
In a press statement released on 24 April 2018, sent to Secretary General of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party DPP and copied to media houses, MAM Secretary General Alhaj Twaibu Lawe said MAM is surprised and disappointed by the remarks made by Paipi, incriminating Islam with violence.
“MAM sternly condemns the derogatory remarks allegedly made by Mr. Julius Paipi, the Regional Governor of the Eastern Region, who made the statement at Makanjira in Mangochi District during a political rally, which is likely to tarnish the image of Islam.
It must be noted that every Malawian citizen is free to participate in politics and join a political party of their choice. It is unfortunate to note that this time of multiparty dispensation, somebody can utter those derogatory remarks against Muslims who participate in politics”, reads part of the statement.
The statement further reminds the ruling party that the first multiparty President in Malawi was a Muslim who never encouraged violence even after the 1999 General Elections aftermath that saw Mosques burnt and demolished by some misguided people but Muslims never took any violent action in retaliation, demonstrating their peaceful conduct, tolerance and coexistence.
MAM’s press statement concludes by strongly requesting the DPP Regional Governor, Mr. Julius Paipi to apologise to the Muslim community in the country. Nevertheless, the Muslim mother body has not specified any action it would take if Paipi doesn’t cooperate.
The stance issued by MAM follows a sequence of denunciations from other Muslim quarters. In its enquiry report addressed to the DPP Secretary General and copied to the DPP Regional Governor, DPP Mangochi District Governor and Mangochi District Peace Committee, Forum for Peace and Justice found that villagers who attended the rally where Paipi’s alleged remarks were made, were manipulated by DPP officials not to conceal the truth.
The report recommends that Mr Paipi should withdraw the statements he made in two different political rallies in Namwera and Makanjira respectively, where he is alleged to have castigated Muslims as war mongers in reference to Mr Sidik Mia’s relationship with Islamic countries.
The reports finds Mr Paipi’s remarks as cheap propaganda tha must not be condoned in democratic societies as they also exposes his democratic immaturity and lack of leadership traits, let alone a regional Governor of a ruling party.
In the report signed by Executive Director Sheikh Ali Makalani and Publicity Secretary Muslim Vinjenje, Forum for Peace and Justice gave a 14 day ultimatum within which Mr Paipi must resign as DPP Eastern Region Governor.
Taking their turn, the Malawian Muslim community in the United Kingdom (UK), through their Secretary General, Rhodrick Junaid Kalumpha, has since issued an open letter to the Democratic Progressive Party, in condemnation of what they describe as callous and disgusting annotations which have no place in modern day society.
Kalumpha notes that as bonafide citizens, Malawian Muslims have the right to seek any political office through any party of their choice under the democratic processes instituted by the Malawi Constitution.
“Consequently as Malawians, we will not allow myopic and gullible politicians such as Mr. Paipi to sow seeds of discord and hatred among us. We reject politics of divide and rule, nasty and dangerous politics of religion,” reads the letter.
It calls upon the DPP leadership to not only expel Mr Paipi from the party if Muslims are to believe that the party has their security at heart, but also to apologise for the careless remarks.
Immediately after the media reported Mr Paipi’s despicable utterances, DPP Mangochi Campaign Director, Mr Wellington Mangulenje resigned from his position.
Just like Muslims in most parts of the world, Muslims in Malawi also suffer intense hatred and prejudice especially as Islam is seen as a geopolitical force or source of terrorism, an act which it strongly denounces.