After Muslim leaders failed to sort out the Mangochi pork saga, President Joyce Banda on Monday met religious leaders in the district where he asked them to bury the hatchet and start living as brothers and sisters as it was before.
This comes barely a month after Muslims in Mangochi produced a banner written “No haraam foods in Mangochi, the Islamic State” which brought controversy and tension in the peaceful secular nation.
People talked and talked. Conclusions were made but no official statement “strongly” condemning the “provoking” banner from the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) was made.
Then it had to take President Banda to call for a roundtable discussion with religious leaders at Chikoko Bay in order to find the lasting solution to the problem.
During the meeting, President Banda appealed to both clerks to desist from doing things that will bring tension saying Malawi’s Penal Code encourages co-existence among people regardless of religious affiliation.
“I urge you to please put your religious differences aside and make sure that you live peacefully among yourselves. The issue of pork selling should not divide the people, I appeal to market leaders to designate specific places for pork sellers to avoid friction amongst the people. Those selling pork should also respect other people that do not eat pork” said President Banda.
On the Islamic state, the President appealed to all religious leaders in the country to avoid confrontation at all times.
“If you start chasing non-Muslims from Mangochi, what will happen to Muslims from Mangochi who are scattered across the country. Please let us avoid bringing anarchy in the country” warned the Malawi leader.
On his remarks, MAM Secretary General for Mangochi district Sheikh Ali Makalani, thanked President Banda for convening the meeting and promised that there won’t be any friction between Muslims and Non Muslims in the district.
“We understand that what is happening in Mangochi is giving Muslims a bad image. Pork sellers will be given designated places in our markets and we will peacefully coexist,” he said.