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Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Bishops' word is good food for thought
BY The Daily Times
16:31:44 - 29 June 2007

The concerns of the Catholic Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi emanating from the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on Section 65 are genuine and need to be seriously weighed against the other good which the country would gain if the Speaker implements the ruling.

The Bishops concerns are that there have been mixed reactions from the ruling which have created uncertainty, fear of the future and tension in the country. This fear and tension are mostly coming from calls for mass by-elections, for the impeachment of the State President, for the President and his vice to resign and for the Speaker to be impeached.

The Bishops are acknowledging the fact that the Supreme Court's interpretation of Section will promote and consolidate the respect for the rule of law and spirit of constitutionalism in the country which are among the key pillars of good governance.

However, they say if things such as impeachment of the President, by-elections etc., are implemented, they will wipe out all the gains that have been realized through the country's maturing democracy and debt cancellation.

The question the Bishops are posing is: would we as a nation be promoting the common good by obsessing ourselves with the need to be seen to be respecting the rule of law when by doing so we plunge Malawians into untold suffering?

This is a big moral dilemma for the nation, but unfortunately, one from which we must extricate ourselves.

We concur with the suggestion by the Bishops that in deciding the way forward for this country, the majority of the citizens must not be left out; that they too should be given the chance to speak for themselves at the right time and in the right way.

Beyond that we are saying whichever route the citizens take, the country now knows the position of the law. What is most important is to ask ourselves if we have learned any lessons from the development.

We cannot also agree more with the Bishops on the need for dialogue which has sustained the country's young democracy to prevail as the politicians, religious and traditional leaders and all people of goodwill engage in this dialogue.

So far we would like to say well spoken our Bishops. But the challenge now is who takes the lead to get this dialogue started?

We think the Bishops as Shepherds of the Lord's flock, guided by the Lord's wisdom are better placed to set the ball-rolling on dialogue

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