News

Meeting of Malawi Religious Leaders Said Not Aimed at Government

President Bingu Wa Mutharika of Malawi addresses the media after closing the AU summit in Uganda's capital Kampala. (File Photo - July 27, 2010)
President Bingu Wa Mutharika of Malawi addresses the media after closing the AU summit in Uganda's capital Kampala. (File Photo - July 27, 2010)
Peter Clottey

A two-day conference of religious leaders aimed at finding solutions to Malawi’s economic and political challenges is scheduled to end Thursday in the commercial capital, Blantyre.

Reverend Maurice Munthali, a leading member of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) of religious leaders, which organized the summit, denied the objective of the meeting was to demand a change in government.

“We had two presentations, the first one being the political scenario and status of Malawi, and then we looked at the economic status of our country,” said Munthali.  “We are looking forward to today’s presentation on the political gaps and opportunities, and it is our belief and hope that the conference is also going to deliberate on these very comprehensively before we can come up with suggested solutions and recommendations.”

The government declined PAC’s invitation to attend the two-day meeting. Religious leaders, who have attended, have come under intense pressure after government officials said the summit will propose a referendum on President Bingu Wa Mutharika’s failure to address the country’s problems.

But, Munthali said the summit doesn’t have any objectionable motives, except to highlight what he said are the lamentations of citizens.  He said the mandate of PAC’s conference conforms to Malawi’s constitutional provisions.

“We hope to get the views from Malawians about the way things are in Malawi today.  There is nothing sinister in it,” said Munthali.  “When the conference concludes today, there will be all sorts of recommendations, suggestions and even demands by Malawians of good will.  It is our hope that every suggestion that is going to come out of this conference is going to help the economy, politics and the social life of the government.”

Munthali said it was an unfortunate decision by the government not to attend the two-day conference.

“They are the key players in as far as implementing the recommendations coming out of this conference are concerned,” said Munthali.  “We do not understand that a very peaceful conference like this one, and very conservative in nature, cannot be attended by players from the government side.”

Mutharika’s administration is under pressure by the opposition, as well as civil society groups, to resolve what they call the “crippling economic crisis” the country faces.

Supporters of the government say the conference is a pretext to call for mass demonstrations against Mutharika’s government.  But, Munthali maintains the objectives of the summit are to find pragmatic solutions to the country’s problems.

“Those views [from Malawians] as anyone else can predict are a lamentation of the situation at hand today.  People are lamenting over our declining and nose-diving economy [and] over the political status which is in disarray,” said Munthali.  “When people are lamenting over what is happening in their daily lives that cannot be deemed as opposing the government.  Nobody is going to clap hands when they are going hungry.”

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs