Muslims in Malawi says they are tired of being used by politicians more especially when general elections are around the corner.The complaint was made on Saturday August 21, 2011 at the Quran House in Blantyre during an Iftaar program organised by the Islamic Concern.
The Muslims complained that there are other politicians who deceive them by promising them that they will enjoy equal opportunities in government with people of other faiths but when they grab that hot seat, the same leaders treat Muslims as second class citizens.
These sentiments come in the heels of recent revelations that former Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Sidik Mia who is also a Muslim invited the Muslims Association of Malawi (MAM) Executive Committee members to his residence in Blantyre where they introduced them to Peter Mutharika, a non-Muslim, as one way of lobbying the Muslim community to support Mutharikaâs 2014 general elections presidential bid. The MAM Members carted home with 50,000.00 Malawi Kwacha from the Professor as a thank you token for their commitment to support his candidature.
Chairman of the Islamic Concern Dave Lali said they organised the programme as one way of bringing all Muslims together and share their ideas. He said his grouping is concerned with the way Muslims are being used by politicians more especially during campaign period and later dumped when the elections are over.
âDuring Dr Kamuzu Banda regime Muslims did not benefit anything. During Dr Bakili Muluzi time, of course we can say he tried his level best (to create an equal opportunity environment) but his efforts faced a lot of resistance as people (of other faiths) accused him that we wanted to Islamise the country. This time around, it is even worse…. So, we want to find out what we should do to make sure that (equally deserving) Muslims should also be benefiting from their votes as citizens of this country,â he said.
When asked about his reaction on the politicians who dishes money to the individuals as lobbying them to support their presidential or parliamentary bids, the chairman said that politicians should not be fooled with the money they give to the individuals as it is impossible to buy the whole Muslim community as Muslims have now come to realise the deceit of these politicians.
âGiving money to the individuals doesnât mean that they have bought the whole (Muslim) community, they should not be fooled,â he added.
He further said that the Islamic Concern organised the Iftaar programme at Quran house, where they invited different Muslim politicians from major parties,Â such as UDF, DPP, and other independent MPs with an effort to find out the real reason that contributes to this trend.
In his response to the concerns, Abubakar Mâbaya, one of the Muslim MPs who graced the occasion said in the past Muslims were indeed sidelined because a lot of them were not educated enough (to be considered for various government positions) compared to this time where a lot of Muslims have attained graduate and post-graduate qualifications.
âNow, we have a lot of educated Muslims but the problem we have is that they do not want to show themselves. Because if you want to be considered, you have to be active (in the day to day affairs of the country), make yourself known (that you have better ideas on how to improve the people’s condition in this country),â said Mâbaya.
Grand Mufti Cassim Abbas who was a guest of honour at the function thanked the grouping for coming up with the idea of organising the forum and he asked the Muslims in the country to open their eyes if they want this problem to end.
Muslims in general demanded from their leaders that apart from appointing them to various positions in government structures,the government should also aid them in terms of hospitals and schools.
Among other dignitaries who attended that auspicious occasion are Dr Cassim Chilumpha, representatives for Atupele Muluzi and Sidik Mia, a Lilongwe based business tycoon Binton Ajawa who is also the National Zakaat Fund chairman, MAM board of trustees secretary Al-Hajj James Mdala, Sheikh Mustahab Ayami, Southern region MAM chair James Kaombe and many others.