jump to navigation

Archbishop Malango to mediate Malawi crisis: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 26, 2011 p 7. August 27, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Politics.
Tags: , ,

Archbishop Bernard Malango

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The former Primate of Central Africa has been appointed chairman by the Malawi government of the mediation team tasked with finding an amicable solution to the country’s political crisis.

However, opposition leaders and the media have questioned the independence and effectiveness of the Presidential Contact and Dialogue Group (PCDG), noting that its members were all linked to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and were government stooges.

On 13 August President Bingu wa Mutharika named Archbishop Bernard Malango as chairman of the (PCDG), which has been charged with acting as a “platform for contact and dialogue between government” and opposition groups.

The PCDG will “mediate, guide and propose ways of amicably solving any disputes and suggest how the people of Malawi can be united” with the “view to safeguard the peace, security and stability of Malawi.”

The committee was formed after weeks of political and social turmoil in the Central African nation. The protests took a violent turn on 20 July after a 20-point of concern petition was presented to the government by civil rights groups. Civil rights groups demanded the president declare his wealth, address foreign currency and fuel shortages that have all but shut down the economy, and restore diplomatic relations with Britain.

Street protests ensued on 20-21 July, and the security forces used live ammunition to disperse anti-government demonstrations, killing at least 18. The United States has frozen $350 million in foreign aid to Malawi, and the UK cut off its financial support of the impoverished nation after its high commissioner was expelled in May.

The PCDG and opposition leaders held a preliminary meeting on 16 August, facilitated by UN officials, to set guidelines for the talks.

According to a joint communiqué released after the meeting, “mutual respect, transparency, confidentiality and integrity were some of the shared values that emerged” from the talks. “Both parties recognized that dialogue must be pursued for the common good of Malawi,” the statement said.

The negotiators also agreed to permit a public vigil “within a period of four weeks,” allowing the opposition the opportunity of making a public statement of their concerns.

However, the Malawi press took a jaundiced view of the talks. A Nyasa Times editorial stated that while Archbishop Malango and the members of the PCDG were “well meaning and generally good people, this committee is doomed to fail even before it starts working.

It argued that the Malango committee was controlled by the president, who was politically “deaf.”

The president “subscribes to the out-dated philosophy that flexibility and a predisposition to compromise is a sign of weakness or a sell-out,” it said.

President Mutharika was in a weak political position, and the mass demonstrations were “here to stay for the remainder” of his term. The “creation of these useless committees is just another attempt to buy time, favours and sympathy,” the newspaper argued.


1. Anglican Mainstream South Africa » Blog Archive » Archbishop Malango to mediate Malawi crisis - August 29, 2011

[…] Read the rest.. […]

Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: