By Charles Leyman Kachitsa
This article first appeared in the Malawi Voice online News website on 14 February 2012 for Malawians to be prayerful in all they do in life. It was written under the pseudo-name “MBULANJE OF NDIXVILLE.” The article is being re-published verbatim as it is felt the suggestions are very helpful to adopt perhaps for better livelihood and prosperity of the nation. Perhaps this is a good way to re-introduce the column; ‘An Outsider Inside View’. Be rest assured the column is back. Here is the article as it appeared originally:
For some reason last week I decided to write this article having had the ideas just before the Christmas period. I am happy and surprised at the same time that I share perhaps this week only the same thoughts as Ndirande Love who has in the week written something on the subject of Malawi being a Christian nation.
I agree with Ndirande Love that as a God fearing nation Malawi is at an advantage, we are more than blessed and this is supported with the fact that we have never had military wars, civil, national or international since our independence. This does not mean we have not had disagreements amongst ourselves; where there are people, there are bond to be conflicts. Most often disagreements stem from attitudes, personal backgrounds, cultural orientation, education and gender basis just to mention some causes. It is a relief our country has remained peaceful despite various challenges that show up now and then. Therefore reading most of the comments in our Malawian newspapers especially online ones, I was becoming worried with most of the combative language that people are mostly using especially when talking about the current leadership. It is only when I stopped and looked at it positively and I realized that these are signs of a maturing democracy. Just think of it, when a baby begins speaking, she starts with any sounds that easily come out of the mouth, then proper words, followed by sentences and finally as one matures you start to present things sensibly in a logical manner. As usual I become easily carried away, this is not the subject of this piece, the subject for my article is religious so let me go back to that.
Recently I was amazed with some practices of people in developed countries. Many people think people in these countries are not religious but historically countries like the UK (United Kingdom) are Christian nations. This was spelt out recently by the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron who reminded people that the nation is a Christian country therefore most of its practices are Christian. What amazed me about Christian commitment in the UK came from a TV program I recently watched where a Roman Catholic Priest conducted an annual prayer service by the sea to thank God for providing fish and other seafood as well as asking for more supplies. This was my second encounter for just before Christmas, I watched another program where again a Christian priest conducted a prayer / thanks giving ritual by the sea to thank God for oysters and ask Him for abundant supplies. For those who want to check and watch these programs they can do so on the internet using their computers. For the fish blessing go to BBC 4 IPlayer on a program entitled, ‘An Island Parish’ and for the oyster prayers go to ITV IPlayer on a program with the caption, ‘The Whitstable Oyster Festival.’ A more amazing thing is that to catch the fish or Oysters in these areas, they do not go far from the shores. The fishermen there even catch plenty fish / oysters on the very shallow waters near the beach. God can do wonders. And on the festival days local business people around these areas make a lot of money selling to the gatherings.
Why did the above move me? It did because apart from these festivals in the UK for example, there are several monasteries where devote Christians spend their lives praying for the Queen and the nation as a whole throughout the day, throughout the years and decades. Then one asks how these nations keep on prospering and being blessed, there you have your answer. I wonder if we have some Christian people in Malawi devoted daily on praying for our nation. Having watched the two British TV programs I mentioned, I wondered about the dwindling numbers of fish species in our Lake Malawi. Would it be because we never annually go there to thank God in prayers for this delicacy and ask for more supplies? This is food for thought to our Malawian religious leaders. I have never heard of any prayers conducted by the lake side in Malawi to thank God for His blessings except maybe celebrations such as the musical one; Lake of Stars. Some of these are basic things but as a Christian nation we tend to take these religious rituals for granted.
When our local men of God speak on behalf of the common people, by whose authority do they do so? I have never heard most of them declaring with grace that they are speaking by virtue of their ordination as men of God thereby putting God above everything before they speak. Most people though Christians or people of faith (thus including other religions) have lost their faith and are looking at men or man, a fellow mortal to redeem them and in some cases whole communities in whatever situations they are in. Our country Malawi has abundant resources. Perhaps we just need to ask from God to open our eyes and not wait for a messiah from amongst our own fellow beings. Let us be part of the solution. Let us put God first for if we put our faith in man then we will always be disappointed. Thus a resultant situation of putting too much faith in living mortals (man) transcend in such statements as others would say that they never knew when they were voting someone in office how they were going to turn up afterwards.
Our Malawian fore fathers used to celebrate the festival of the first harvest. This is also the case as depicted in the bible as it talks of communities. I remember we used to do the same at St Michaels and All Angels CCAP church in Blantyre, I am not sure whether the practice is still there but it is an important occasion. The congregation used to bring in their first harvest produce including livestock for those with farms and monetary values for those without any agricultural farms. The results of these rituals could always be seen year on year, a wealth and growing congregation. Someone please shout if this is still practised at HHI CCAP.
Let me go back to my campaign for the reintroduction of the Kamuzu era Youth Week. One of the good things that used to happen in the week was a celebration of the first harvest and thanks giving for it also agricultural shows in rural areas which were presided over by local MPs. On the Youth Week as I said in my previous article talking of my primary school Chichiri in Blantyre, was a week of abundance evident through massive sales of sugarcanes grown near the edges of Ndirande forest and Blantyre Polytechnic staff residential flats. The sugarcane field owners used to make a monetary kill during this period. Apart from sugarcane there were high sales of other food crops as well such as cassava, potatoes (cooked and raw) and most fruits. On the opening day of Youth Week usually held at the Kamuzu Stadium, I remember it was a day on which the various Malawi Young Pioneer Bases/camps (MYP) would showcase their largest harvested farm produce. Most notable were bigger than life pumpkins, cabbage heads and cobs of maize which used to be shown for the appreciation of the Ngwazi, Dr Kamuzu Banda then the Malawi Life President.
What I have tried to say here is that Malawi as a Christian nation, we need earnest national prayers. We need to so often thank God for the good things in our nation of Malawi and not pretend that we are doomed entirely which is unchristian. What is needed is honesty, there are some issues that we have to unite on no matter the case. Leaders of various churches must be in the forefront teaching people to put their trust in God and thanking Him for the peace we have, the abundance in some natural resources that we enjoy and ask for more continuous provisions. Perhaps we need to admit that we have been looking elsewhere for alleviation of our national problems when the answer is Prayer to God.