STATEMENT BY THE LEADER OF THE ENLIGHTENED CHRISTIAN GATHERING (ECG) CHURCH, PROPHET SHEPHERD BUSHIRI, CHAMPIONING THE CAUSE OF PEACE IN MALAWI
RUSTERNBERG, SOUTH AFRICA 02.10. 19
“PEACE AS A GATEWAY TO PROGRESS”
Members of the Press, I welcome you to this press conference. Feel welcome and your presence is greatly appreciated and valued.
My name is Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and I am the president and founder of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) International Church.
I am speaking to you, this afternoon, because:
- I am a spiritual leader, representing the voice of the church. From the John Chilembwe days in 1915 to Catholic Bishops in 1989, the church has always been instrumental in speaking out on issues of national importance. I am only carrying the legacy.
- Despite being in the diaspora, I am a Malawian citizen. I don’t have any place I call home apart from Malawi. Therefore, I want to add my voice as a citizen.
WHY I HAVE CALLED THIS PRESS CONFERENCE
I have called this Press Conference because, as a Malawian, I am deeply concerned with DISTRUBING and SHOCKING things happening in our beautiful Malawi.
1. Justlookaround.Ourstreetsarechaoticandbusinessiscomingtostandstill.Ihave read about Jenipher Kamzati, a small-scale business lady at Bwandiro in Lilongwe. She borrowed K5 million from a village bank, went to China, bought clothes and opened a clothing shop.
In a week, even without making a single coin, she has lost everything to violence. I mean everything! Who is comforting people, like Jenipher, who keep losing business properties to violence? Which investor can come to a country where violence is becoming the order of the day? THIS IS NOT ON!
- Lookaround.Innocentlivesarebeinglost—wejustburiedanenergeticyoungboyin Karonga because of violence. Not only that. People are being hacked, beaten and left for dead just because they come from different regions, or they wear a different political colour. Is this the Malawi we want? THIS IS NOT ON!
- Ourleadersappeartohavevowedtocontinuedisagreeingwithoutanend.Weare living in a state where our leaders have AGREED to completely DISAGREE—not to DISAGREE to AGREE. THIS IS NOT ON.
Fellow Malawians, is this the kind of Malawi we want? IS THIS THE MALAWI WE ARE BUILDING FOR OURSELVES AND OUR CHILDREN?
If you sit down and analyze the state of our nation today, you will discover that all of us are preoccupied with TWO things now.
- The on-going demonstrations led by HRDC
- The on-going elections case currently at the Constitutional Court.
These two things have completely divided us. On one hand, we have a camp that supports the demonstrations and, regarding the elections case, they want to have a RE-RUN of the May 21 elections. On another hand, we have a camp that is against the demonstrations and, regarding the elections case, they want the Constitutional Court to dismiss the case.
As we sit here, Malawi is a completely divided nation. We are a nation visibly divided. In fact, it is this division that is giving me sleepless nights and this is why I have been compelled to call for this press briefing to INITIATE a discussion with you, fellow Malawians.
Let us look at this, fellow Malawians: The Constitutional Court will be making its ruling sometime next month. BUT WITH THE CAMPS THAT HAVE EMERGED IN MALAWI, HOW MUCH HAVE WE PREPARED OUR PEOPLE TO ACCEPT THE DECISION THAT THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT WILL MAKE?
WE NEED TO START ASKING OURSELVES AND OUR LEADERS THESE CRITICAL QUESTIONS:
- ARE BOTH CAMPS PREPARING THEIR SUBJECTS TO RESPECT THE DETERMINATION OF THE COURT AT THE END OF THE PROCESS?
2. WILL UTM AND MCP ACCEPT THE COURT’S DECISION SHOULD IT COME OUT CONTRARY TO THEIR JOINT EXPECTATION?
- IS MEC OR DPP PREPARED TO ACCEPT A COURT’S DETERMINATION THAT SHALL NULLIFY MAY 21 ELECTIONS RESULT?
- HOWARETHESECONCERNEDPARTIESPREPARINGTHEIRSUBJECTSFORTHOSE POSSIBLE OUTCOMES?
Fellow brothers and sisters, let us not underestimate the power of the Constitutional Court ruling on the peace of the country. Expectations are huge on both sides of the argument. But how are we managing these expectations?
I am certain and convinced that if we don’t answer and deal with these questions today, I can assure you WE ARE SITTING ON A TIMELY BOMB as a nation.
I am here, therefore, to MAKE A STRONG APPEAL TO OUR POLITICAL LEADERS TO START PREPARING PEOPLE IN THEIR CAMPS TO ACCEPT THE COURT’S TRANSPARENT AND INCORRUPTIBLE DECISION BY THE END OF THE DAY.
Through this press briefing, I want to begin a NATIONAL PEACE CONVERSATION that aims at challenging our leaders to begin a process of preparing our people of life after the Constitutional Court ruling. This is what I call a MOMENT OF COLLECTIVE REFLECTION.
Are we ready, as a nation, to accept the verdict and move on OR we will not accept and have the current stalemate continue?
HERE IS WHAT I AM PROPOSING
In preparing our nation for the verdict, I am proposing the following 7 points:
- Government has the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma). I know political strife is one of the disasters that Dodma manages through preparedness and response. At this time, we need to ask what Dodma is doing to prepare the nation on the political strife that will emerge after the Constitutional Court Ruling. We need answers.
- To the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), we need to appeal to the leadership to start challenging and informing their people about the coming court ruling. We need peace today, tomorrow and forever and I am certain that the DPP will champion this noble.
- To the opposition, especially MCP and UTM, how much do the leadership discuss peace in their meetings and rallies? The leadership needs to start preparing their people NOW!
4. The International Community, how much are they engaging with political and social leaders in the country regarding the Constitutional Court ruling in the offing? They need to be challenged to stand up NOW not just after incidents have already happened.
- To us the clergy, how much, in our sermons, are we preparing our members with regards to the ruling in the offing? Do we just preach about heaven ignoring the danger we are about to face as a nation? This is the time the clergy must come together and lead the process of preparing our people.
- To the media, how much are we sensitizing and enlightening our people with regards to the coming judgement? Do we consider this a critical news story in our newsroom? I am calling on the media in Malawi to begin this noble process.
- To Civil Society Organisations (CSO), I want them to begin a nationwide campaign of civic educating people about how critical the ruling by the Constitutional Court will be and also the importance of accepting it. CSOs must also aim at creating forums where all key stakeholders should convene through a NATIONAL PEACE CONFERENCE and deliberate these issues.
In conclusion, I want to reiterate that I love Malawi and I will do anything to be part of processes that protect and safeguard the interests of all our people. Malawians want peace and I am here to begin a process that will ensure our people enjoy everlasting peace.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL.