President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has expressed disappointment with some "God-fearing Malawians" whom he accused of involvement in perpetrating and perfecting corruption and theft of resources in the public service.
Chakwera lamented that most Christians and Muslims have chosen to depart from their spiritual values of patience in their acquiring wealth, and are now employing crooked means to accumulate worldly prosperity.
The President made the sentiments in Lilongwe on Thursday when he laid a foundation stone for the construction of the national headquarters of the Malawi Assemblies of God (MAOG) Church.
"Some of the people perpetrating corruption in government ministries, departments and agencies are worshipping with us in churches and mosques. Where have we left our Christian and Muslim values?" he asked.
Chakwera appealed to faith bodies to take the lead in the fight to end corruption by simply practicing the values and tenets of their faith at home, at work, and whenever seeking a government service, stressing that corruption would not have worsened if every church-going Malawian refused to cut corners or take bribes or pay bribes.
"Malawi would have the cleanest government on earth and live up to its aspiration to be a God-fearing country. I therefore appeal to all faith bodies to exercise their constitutional right to enjoy freedom of worship and conscience without harassing others who do not share their convictions on moral and social issues and without seeking to use the State as a weapon for harassing them, because practicing one's faith is not a license for depriving others of their freedom," he warned.
Chakwera assured of his government's commitment to supporting all faith bodies with policies and incentives that enable them to continue being a perfect partner for government in the work of serving Malawians.
He said his government will continue consulting faith bodies for counsel and collaboration on all governance and development matters in recognition of their indispensable role in Malawi as institutions that sustain the unity and moral fabric of society.
"I congratulate MAOG for designing a fit-for mission National Headquarters, which, he said, will add aesthetic beauty to Malawi's capital and contribute to the Malawi 2063 vision of quality infrastructure development as a key enabler for transformation. I also appreciate MAOG for being a model of the 2063 vision of building a new Malawi that is self-reliant, having achieved self-reliance as a church before the nation has, through a complete transition from being donor-funded to being self-sustaining by raising money from its own membership rather than depending on foreigners and politicians," he said.
The President further commended MAOG for complementing government efforts in various sectors such as Education, Communications, Arts, Leadership Development, Gender Equality, International Relations, and Vaccine Awareness and Compliance.
He said MAOG had led by example in matters of gender parity, having a large number of educated and empowered female church officials at all levels of church leadership.
"I also appreciate the MAOG for not using the election of its former leader as Malawi's President as an occasion to abandon its Gospel-preaching and Church-planting mission, but continuing to be a community that respects unity out of diversity," said Chakwera.
In his remarks, MAOG vice president Reverend Benito Chisamba thanked Chakwera for his continued dedication to church despite holding multi-tasking public position of the State President.
Chisamba also hailed the State President for introducing Affordable Input Programme (AIP), which is not only benefitting the underprivileged subsistence farming households, but also pastors of in the church.
"Our pastors no longer beg for food because they harvested enough. Ngakhale masika, chaka chino akhristu athu apereka chimanga chambiri chifukwa akulola zambiri (Our church members have given huge volumes in tithe in form of maize because they harvested enough)," he said.