Former President Peter Mutharika on Saturday refused to honour an invitation to attend a Catholic Church event in Mangochi because of the presence of President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera.
Mutharika has been shunning all functions, including funerals, attended by President Dr Chakwera and he has not yet conceded defeat three years after the 2020 court sanctioned presidential election which he lost to Chakwera.
Instead, Mutharika sent his spokesperson Shadreck Namalomba to represent him at the function although the Democratic Progressive Party president stays in Mangochi where the function was held.
Chakwera shook hands and laughed with Namalomba at the event.
In his speech, Chakwera urged Malawians to abandon a spirit of individualism and instead embrace togetherness in times of both celebration and suffering.
Speaking at Mangochi Stadium as he graced the celebration of golden jubilee, priestly silver jubilee anniversary as well as the ordination of deacons into priests for Mangochi Diocese, Chakwera said every Malawian must practice oneness and togetherness as it is a character for the nation which must be practiced and protected.
Chakwera also urged Malawians to reject the dismissal of the relevance of any citizen to the development of Malawi.
“I know that it has become fashionable, in recent times, especially when things go really well or things go really badly, to give all the credit or cast all the blame on government and its officials,” lamented the president.
But he said Malawians must resist such a mindset as it encourages and reinforces the false perception that the only people who matter and contribute to the development of Malawi are those in public office.
The Malawi leader said if the country is to attain an inclusively wealthy, self-reliant and industrialised upper-middle income economy as spelt out in the Malawi 2063, every Malawian , whether from the church, private sector or government, must equally participate in the development process.
He said that Malawians should remove the mentality that it is someone else’s responsibility to be resourceful for Malawi and that everyone is worthy of being resourceful.
“Every citizen is important in this country, let us refuse to be looked down upon and we should not allow anyone look down upon us regardless of our religious or political belonging. This malpractice promotes negativity in the nation,” he said
He added that he had come to the celebration because he knows that not only those working in government are helping Malawi but other sectors too as evidenced by the schools, hospitals and many more development initiatives done by the diocese.
He went on to encourage Malawians to use their God given gifts such as natural resources that the country has, towards promoting the nation.
The President also presented gifts to the newly ordained priests and those that have clocked 25 years as priests.
The Bishop for Mangochi diocese Montfort Stima expressed gratitude to the President for attending the celebrations, for the gifts and for the support he rendered them during the preparations for the event.
He added that their mission is to let more people know God, have morals that reflect a godly behaviour and uplift every individual among others.
He also marvelled at how far the diocese has come, attributing this to the various development initiatives they have managed to make such as schools, hospitals, radio and TVs stations among others.
Fathers, Amos Mtcherenga and Aaron Nkhonje have been ordained at the celebrations and four other Fathers were celebrating their silver jubilee.