Chaos at Likuni Catholic Parish
There was chaos at Likuni Catholic Parish of the Lilongwe Archdiocese when some faithful interrupted the Eucharistic celebration as they demanded the immediate removal of two priests at the parish, Fathers Regis Mshanga and Godfrey Chikapa over alleged maladministration.
The action by the Likuni faithful comes after the authorities of the archdiocese failed to take action on 11 issues raised by the leaders of the parish last year. The church council gave a December 23, 2015 ultimatum for the authorities to transfer the two priests before taking the law into their own hands.
Seeing that the archdiocese authorities kept quiet on their demand and ultimatum to remove the priests by December 23 last year, the Christians wrote Lilongwe Distric Commissioner, Charles Makanga, and Lilongwe Police asking for permission to conduct a vigil against the two priests but the DC refused to grant the permission arguing that it was a family matter.
“Malingana ndi kalata yanu yomwe munalemba pa 22 February 2016 kutidziwitsa ndikutipempha kuti tikupatseni kalata yachilolezo chopanga mbindikiro (vigil) chifukwa chakusemphana maganizo ndi Ansembe a pa Likuni Parish. Ofesi ya DC mogwirizana ndi Apolisi sangapereke chilolezo cha mbindikiro (vigil) pa nkhani zapachiweniweni (Catholic family). [Following your February 22, 2016 request for permission to hold a vigil against Likuni Parish priests following your misunderstandings with them, the DC in conjunction with the police will not grant that permission over family matters],” reads the letter from Lilongwe DC Makanga dated March 8 2016.
According to the letter dated December 20, 2015 addressed to the head of Lilongwe Archdiocese, Archbishop Tarcizio Ziyaye, from a special committee that was chosen after the parish council failed to resolve the issues at the parish, there are 11 grounds that the Christians have for wanting the two priests removed from Likuni Parish.
The reasons border on alleged maladministration and abuse of power and abuse of parish funds. The letter is signed by 11 people from St Jude, St Pius, St Rosario and St Peters Small Christian Communities.
The Christians say in the letter that the two priests have disowned St Pius out-station which has five small Christian communities by not administering sacraments to the Christians in the area. The letter suggests that the priests are fed with information from their girl friends from the out station.
The letter further alleges that the priests abused K500,000 meant for a fence for priests’ cemetery at the parish when those involved in the construction of the fence were paid a meager K15,000. The priests are also accused of engaging three police officers for one week at K20 000 without the knowledge of the council. The priests also suspended All Saints Choir and the council has since re-instated it.
The faithful took the law into their hands yesterday after seeing that authorities did not help them. They interrupted prayers and chaos erupted and in the process 15 people were arrested.
Lilongwe Police Spokesperson Kingsley Dandaula confirmed the arrest of 15 people in connection with the fracas at Likuni Parish yesterday. He said the 15 will be charged with conduct likely to cause breach of peace.
Lilongwe Archdiocese Communications Secretary and Archbishop Ziyaye’s Secretary Fr. Gabriel Jana expressed ignorance on the fracas.
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