The Catholic Church in Malawi will Tuesday afternoon hold a special program on its Radio Maria Station to respond to a recent attack against Pope Francis.
The program which will start at 4:30 PM local time follows reports that showed a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) operative, Hophmally Makande, telling a rally on Sunday that the party will not heed calls for President Peter Mutharika to step down in account of old age unless the pontiff leads the way.
In an announcement circulated on social media, the influential Catholic Church is asking whether the reference is appropriate and respectful to the Pontiff who, unlike Mutharika, is not seeking a new term.
"Listen to Radio Maria Malawi today Tuesday 28 August from 4.30 PM when we will discuss what some politician said at a rally that are an insult to the Papacy and disrespectful to the Catholic faithfuls," says the announcement.
Speaking to the crowd, Makande queried DPP spokesperson, Nicholous Duasi, a church-going Catholic regarding the Pope's age:
"A Dausi muli pompano, anthu akuti a Mutharika atule pansi udindo chifukwa akula, Papa ali ndi aka 10? Papa ali ndi aka 10? Papa ndi wamkulu kuposa a Mutharika ndiye ayambe ndi Papayo kutula pansi udindo wake (Mr. Dausi, ir right here, people are saying Mutharika must step down due to old age, is the Pope 10 years old? Is the Pope 10 years old? Mutharika is younger than the Pope so he will not step down unless the Pope does)."
Leonarcd Chimbanga, one of DPP's most vibrant, young politicians had no kind words for Makande, saying the remarks were " horrifying, stupid, uncalled for."
Makande is a recent DPP new comer from the then ruling People's Party (PP). He made his political fortunes as a UDF operative during that party's reign before joining the now defunct National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which was formed by another current DPP new comer, Brown Mpinganjira.