"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

This is what it has come to politics of fanatism and hooliganism thanks to the unvisionary 10 year leadership of Mr Bakili Muluzi

Gunya should condemn vengeful politics at religious functions
Something must be terribly wrong when a whole General Secretary of the Synod of Blantyre Reverend Daniel Gunya says he sees nothing wrong with party functionaries literally hijacking a religious function into a platform for embarrassing political opponents. Admittedly, the church has for a long time been used to fight social injustice, but one wonders if the manner in which the UDF functionaries who graced the function behaved can draw sympathy well-meaning worshippers.
What is more worrying is that some people who added fuel to the blazing flames are local leaders whom people look up to for guidance and direction and who are supposed to be unifying figures. A local leader is reporterd to have told the faithful and other people in attendance at the function that UDF had taken over the celebrations. Still nothing wrong for Gunya? Chiefs should desist from being used as pawns in political battles, lest they be caught in the crossfire.
The local leaders for Bamba CCAP church in Machinga showed that they were apolitical by inviting their MP Jaffalie Mussa, who is also Minister of Sports Youth and Culture, to their centenary celebrations.
But it was wrong for UDF functionaries who came to the function—apparently following their chairman Bakili Muluzi—to boo and stop Mussa from addressing the congregation when he was asked to, simply because he is a cabinet minister in President Bingu wa Mutharika’s government. If Gunya could not have stopped the booing and heckling, at least he should have condemned the behaviour later. We are, therefore, very surprised that he is saying he saw nothing wrong with it and is not ashamed. Gunya should have taken great exception to it.
We also hope this is Gunya’s personal stand and not that of the synod on the matter. And if it is his stand alone, we hope the Church will apologise to the minister for the embarrassment caused to him, or else they should not have invited him to the function in the first place.
In fact, one wonders what the synod is doing about its general secretary over his many controversial statements the synod has been forced to disown over the past few months. Sometimes there is no telling whether the synod understands its GS, or if it fears him? What is clear is that he always does things his way.
The behaviour of the UDF functionaries at the Machinga function is the kind of retrogressive thinking the nation condemned at the funeral of the late Speaker Rodwell Munyenyembe when a former Democratic Progressive Party senior official tried to incite local people against Muluzi and other UDF officials at the funeral.
Would Gunya not be embarrassed if Vice President Cassim Chilumpha was invited by his church to a similar function and was barred from speaking just because DPP was more popular in that area?
We also hope UDF will condemn their supportors for hijacking the religious function to achieve their partisan agenda.


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