Islamic organizations in the country have been asked to start preparing themselves ahead of 2014 tripartite elections.
The call came from Dr Yusuf Aufi who is also interim leader of Maravi Peoples Party and Sheikh Abdullah Mdala at Radio Islamâs weekly programme of contemporary issues monitored by this website.
âIslamic organizations need to firstly organize themselves and work as a block regardless of party affiliations or where one is coming from because Muslims are one,â said one of the panelists Sheikh Abdullah Mdala.
Mdala further said after Â such a union, Muslims need to do aÂ fact findingÂ in order to establish a number of things, which among them is to civic educate the Muslim community the importance of elections.
âThey need know the importance of voting. The Islamic organizations should help them to choose a good leader because according to Islam, leadership is based on amaana (trust) therefore whomsoever has been entrusted with such a responsibility must do so knowing that at the end of the day they will be accountable to the people that elected them and then to Allah who is the creator of the universe where we all shall return,â continued Mdala.
Another issue that came up in the debate was the issue of politics. People wanted to know whether Islam allows people to take part in politics. Some callers also wanted to know if the mixture of politics and religion wonât have any effect on the Islamic organizationâs affairs.
To answer this question the panelists said that participation in voting is a right of every Malawian citizen.
âAs Muslims, we also have to take part in both areas. We have a right to justice as we have a right to vote â at the same time we also have a right to be voted for at any level provided one has qualifications and has met the requirements for that role. Such being the case, the question of whether Islam permits politics or not does not arise,â said another panelist Yusuf Aufi.
Aufi further hinted that Islamic originations have a bigger role in civic educating the masses about the roles duties and responsibilities of both voters as well as candidates.
âFor example, if the Malawi Electoral Code of Conduct Stipulates that parties /candidates should not insult each other, Islamic organizations have a very big role in bringing in theÂ Islamic perspectiveÂ on conduct of a Muslim towards a fellow Muslim, manners of a Muslim towards a fellow non Muslim,â he said.
The panelists however said time has come for Malawi Muslims to realize that they are Muslims first, Malawi citizens second. Therefore there is a need to work together towards a common goal of looking after the interest of all Muslims in Malawi regardless of party affiliations.