Saturday, January 16, 2010

USA praises Malawi for religious freedom

Malawi State President Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has earned praise from the Barack Obama administration for respecting and promoting religious freedom in Malawi. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Deogratias Mmana

United States Department of State says Malawi generally respected freedom of religion between July 2008 to June 2009.

In a 2009 Report on International Religious Freedom-Malawi, released on January 5 2010 and available on, the department says Malawi enjoyed freedom although there were complaints from minor religious groups regarding limited employment and educational opportunities.

The report says Rastafarian leaders continued to ask government to allow long hair in public schools although there is no official ban for such hair in the country’s schools.

“Although there is no law relating to hair length, some schools prohibit long hair as part of their dress code. Rastafarian leaders provided the Ministry of Justice with a list of schools that enforced the ban, but the Ministry took no action,” says the report.

Despite these developments, the report says “There were no reports of religious prisoners or detainees, [nor] were there reports of forced religious conversion.”

It adds that there were no documented cases of social abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.

Deputy Minister of Information and Civic Education Kingsley Namakhwa welcomed the report saying Malawi is a God-fearing nation and that people have freedom of worship.

“As for the other reservations, they are individual cases which cannot reflect Malawi as a whole. Let relevant authorities address such problems,” Namakhwa said on Wednesday.

The US government discusses religious freedom with the Malawi government as part of its policy of promoting human rights.

During the reporting period, the US embassy promoted religious tolerance through grants, meetings, exchange programmes, and the distribution of reading materials.

According to the report, Chrisians comprise of 80 per cent of the country’s population. Among the Christian groups, the largest are the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP), with smaller numbers of Anglicans, Baptists, evangelicals, and Seventh-day Adventists.

It says Muslims constitute approximately 13 per cent of the population. There are also Hindus, Baha’is, and small numbers of Rastafarians and Jews-Weekend Nation.


  1. The Deputy Minister of Information is good really good. He answers questions in a very mature way. Hon. Minister keep it serving your country. You actually make us proud

  2. I agree with you. The Deputy Minister of Information could be better placed if he was a full Minister, I believe time will come for him to serve our Malawi as a full Minister. He is a young politician with a vision, he indeed follows the wisdom of our Ngwazi Dr. Bingu

  3. Namakhwa woyeeee Bingu woyeee Malawi woyee