Monday, August 24, 2009

Muluzi sponsored clergy lose Synod polls

The Blantyre Synod's St Michaels and All Angels church in the commercial city Blantyre. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Lucy Liponda

Malawi’s second largest Christian church, the Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) this Monday afternoon has ushered into office three top officials through a tight vote amidst reports that former President Bakili Muluzi was sponsoring some of the candidates that have lost.

According to Malawi Digest sources, the opposition UDF national chairman Bakili Muluzi was sponsoring several reverends that were taking part in the polls.

The Muluzi sponsored reverends include Rev Andrew Maere and Rev. Rodney Bona.

The CCAP elections, were held on the second day of the church's bi-annual assembly being held at the multi-purpose hall in Malawi's commercial city, Blantyre.

Maere was standing in the elections to be returned as Deputy Secretary General for the Synod and Bona was seeking re-election into office as Moderator for the Synod.

Earlier in the afternoon, there was a heated debate before the polls were conducted as delegates could not agree on who was to take part in the vote and what type of voting should be used.

All journalists were not allowed into the voting hall but this reporter for Malawi Digest sneaked in and watched everything as events unfold.

After agreeing on the mode of voting and who to vote, delegates to the conference were allowed to go out for lunch before voting resumed an hour later.

First to go for voting was the Moderator’s position that saw Reverends Reynolds Mmangisa, Rodney Bona and Felix Chingota competing.

The post of Moderator who is the Synod's overall head, was convincingly won by Rev. Reynolds M'mangisa with 133 votes against 104 for Bona and 60 for Chingota.

The post of Deputy Moderator went to Rev Mercy Chilapula unopposed.

On the Deputy Secretary General’s position Reverends Chitsulo, Andrew Maere, Mathias Hauya, Gertrude Kapuma and Austin Chimenya competed.

After the polls, Rev Austin Chimenya emerged winner with 117 votes against Maere’s 93, Chitsulo got 29, Hauya 37 and Kapuma got 19.

The bi-annual general assembly is being attended by over 500 delegates from the United States of America, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The church's synods of Nkhoma and Livingstonia have also been invited to the assembly.

The loss in the elections by Rev. Andrew Maere and Rev. Rodney Bona is another denial by one of the Malawi's largest Christian churches to Bakili Muluzi’s infiltration.

Former president Muluzi likes using religious leaders for his political survival. Muluzi has been using the Islamic religion, some clerks in the CCAP church, some priests in the Roman Catholic Church and some members of the clergy in the Anglican church for his political survival.

According to sources, Bakili Muluzi was using the Blantyre Synod politically through former General Secretary for the Synod, Rev. Daniel Gunya and the just defeated Deputy General Secreatry Rev. Andrew Maere.

Gunya stood as an independent Parliamentary candidate in the May 19th polls. He stood as an independent after losing in the opposition UDF primaries. Gunya however failed to make it to Parliament in the main polls.

On Sunday night, Muluzi's agents were seen travelling from one point of accommodation to another trying to cox and bribe delegates to the bi-annual meeting in order to have his preferred candidates elected into these powerful positions-Malawi Digest.

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