LILONGWE – As Malawi prepares to hold the first ever tripartite elections on May 20, the minority Muslim community in the southern African nation is praying for peace and tolerance in the run up to what’s billed as “decisive elections”.
“These elections are very crucial to the future of Malawi. There are set to decide our destiny,” Secretary General of the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) Dr. Salmin Omar told OnIslam.net.
“Any slight mistake would plunge this nation into anarchy, which would likely overturn all the gains we have made throughout the 50 years of our independence. It is for this reason, that we have decided to pray for peace and tolerance during and after the elections,” he added.
Malawians will be going to the polls for a record four times since the nation reverted to pluralistic politics in 1993.
But this will be the first time for the country to hold tripartite elections. The electorate will be electing president, parliamentarians and councilors as well.
“Due to the nature of these elections, we have decided to rally all Muslims in the country to set some time during their daily prayers to pray for peace and tolerance,” Omar said.
“We would like our politicians to remember that we are one nation, we should therefore be tolerant to divergent views so that at the end of the day, we should emerge a united nation,” he added.
Omar’s concerns were increased after reports appeared about violence eruption in some parts of the country.
“Already there is tension as we move closer to May 20. Some pockets of violence have already been reported in some parts of the country leading to loss of lives,” Omar said.
“It is therefore incumbent upon the faithful both Muslims and Christians to pray for this process. Because the outcome, if negative could have serious devastating effects on all of us and the way we worship. Let us therefore be cautious about this.”
Meanwhile, the move has won itself plaudits from organizations and political commentators across the country, describing it as a “breakthrough” in fostering “bridges of peace and tolerance” in the seemingly highly charged political environment.
The Muslim organizations move to support peaceful transformation of the country’s political train was widely praised as a “timely initiative.”
“These are the hotly contested elections after so many years. There is tension in this country at the moment. The situation is so delicate,” Rev. Dr. Felix Chingota, the National chairperson of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), told OnIslam.net.
“This move taken by the Muslim community will go down a long way in fostering peace and tolerance now and even after the polls. They have taken a lead, let others also follow suit. All Malawians of goodwill should join hands and pray for the elections and their aftermath.
“We have only one home and that’s Malawi, we need therefore to save our country from any conflicts now and after the elections. As members of the faith community, we should lead the way in ensuring that the road to the elections is free from any violence,” Chngota added.
Renowned political scientist and scholar Associate Professor Blessings Chinsinga echoed a similar point of view, saying the initiative has full potential to quell the tension which engulfing the country a few weeks to the Election Day.
“The majority of Malawians are very religious. They are either Muslims or Christians. These prayers will likely have a physiological effect on people,” he told OnIslam.net
“They will help to cool down the high political temperature in the country as we move closer to the polling day. This move is highly commendable.”
Malawi with about 16 million population, Islam is the second largest religion after Christianity in the largely Christian dominated, but diverse secular nation. It accounts for 36% of the population.
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