By Feston Malekezo
Hophmally Makande, ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) deputy director of youth, has apologised and withdrawn the remarks he made last Sunday insinuating that Pope Francis should resign as head of the Catholic Church because of age.
Makande made the remarks at the DPP Bangwe rally on Sunday as he tried to contextualize why President Mutharika cannot resign as head of state. Mutharika’s opponents say that he is too old to contest in next May’s elections.
“Some of you are criticising and speaking bad that President Peter Mutharika is old… is the Pope a ten year-old… is the Pope a ten year-old? Between the Pope and Peter who is older? Isn’t it the Pope… why does he not resign then? I am not despising the church. But leave our President alone,” Makande told DPP supporters.
His comments have irked Catholics and the public at large. Social media is awash with comments condemning Makande and the DPP for failing to condemn him
But yesterday Makande was apologetic in an exclusive interview with Times Group.
“First I need to apologise and withdraw the statement…What I meant was that there is no way someone can become a (Roman Catholic) Bishop when he has served for four years. They take time to groom their leaders and politicians should emulate that,” Makande said.
He insists that he was quoted by his critics out of context.
“There is no way I can insult the Roman Catholic Church when they educated me,” Makande said.
Makande has just joined the ruling party after he ditched People’s Party which was founded by former President Joyce Banda.
He had also a stint with National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which was formed by Brown Mpinganjira.