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Parties shun State House prayers

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By Serah Makondetsa:

Atupele Muluzi

Malawi Congress Party (MCP), United Democratic Front (UDF) and UTM will not attend the Presidential Prayer Breakfast scheduled for today at the New State House in Lilongwe.

The prayers come barely days after President Peter Mutharika shunned Presidential Prayers which Public Affairs Committee (Pac) organised.

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Christian churches such as Pentecostal Revival Crusade Ministries, Calvary Family Church, Malawi Assemblies of God and Living Waters Church have organised the latest prayers.

MCP secretary general, Eisenhower Mkaka, said the party’s leader, Lazarus Chakwera, would not attend the prayers because the organisers did not treat all presidential candidates fairly.

“If the organisers were serious about the prayers, they should have chosen a neutral place just like Pac did. President Peter Mutharika will be attending the prayers in his capacity as a presidential candidate and, therefore, it does not make sense for the prayers to happen at the State House,” he said.

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UTM spokesperson, Joseph Chidanti-Malunga, said, while prayers are important ahead of the May 21 Tripartite Elections, the motive behind such events matters.

“Last week, there were prayers organised by Pac and our Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) counterparts did not attend. We don’t understand why they want to hold these particular prayers at State House and we know that some people may not be comfortable attending prayers at the State House. There are so many questions surrounding these prayers and we may not be in a position to attend them,” he said.

UDF secretary general, Kandi Padambo, has also written convener of the prayers, Apostle Madalitso Mbewe, informing him that the party’s president, Atupele Muluzi, will not attend the prayers as he already lined up programmes in the Northern Region.

“Thank you very much for your communication regarding the postponement of the Presidential Prayer Breakfast to Thursday 9th May. We regret to inform you that the presidential candidate for United Democratic Front party, Rt. Hon. Atupele Muluzi, will not be able to attend due to the fact he had already prearranged activities in the Northern Region which cannot be postponed,” reads part of the memo which Padambo addressed to Mbewe on May 7 2019.

Mbewe was not available for a comment.

Muluzi also serves in Mutharika’s Cabinet as Health Minister whereas UTM leader Saulos Chilima is State Vice- President.

Mutharika and his running mate Everton Chimulirenji shunned presidential and running mates debates, which a taskforce comprising media organisations and other organisations hosted.

Presidential Prayer Breakfast sessions started in 1999 and have been held in every election year except 2014 when the organisers said they lacked funds.

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