ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY PROF. ARTHUR PETER MUTHARIKA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI AT IJITMA, MANGOCHI ON 24TH DECEMBER 2016
I am pleased to be here with you all at this IJTIMAH gathering.I greet you all.
As we gather for prayers for spiritual exaltation and welfare of the Moslem community; we also gather to think about development in Islam.
We seek the ways of rightiousness before the Holy One; and we also seek the wisdom of promoting the welfare of our nation. We know that life is most meaningful when we contribute to the welfare of others in this world. When faith finds a place in our hearts; we find our place in the welfare of others.We find our mission in life. We seek to build the bond of fraternity and cooperation for the good of the whole of country.
It is important to reflect on the development of Islam in our country. This gathering should also help us reflect on the place of faith in developing the individual person.
I have always urged every faith group to develop in us the patriotic spirit of loving our country, individuals of high integrity and citizens with a culture of hardwork. I want to thank the Islamic faith community for responding well to this national call.
In this country, there are many people who want to exercise their freedom without responsibility. We received our democracy the wrong way. But freedom does not mean confusion. I therefore urge you to help us teach the youth to be a disciplined and responsible generation. Above all, our youth must be equipped with the confidence to compete with everyone in the world.
This is my appeal to all faiths in this country. We should never allow freedom without responsibility; never allow freedom without discipline. I know that religion has an important role in developing our personality. Every faith has a role in the making of the Malawian citizen. And the Malawian citizen is a person who is patriotic, a person of integrity and a hardworking person. Islam shares this role no less.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me also talk about the place of Islamic faith in our nation. The development of Islam as a religion in Malawi has an important place in the welfare of this country.
Government recognizes the role your religion plays in the development of this country. We recognize the role you play in education, in health and in the welfare of various communities.
My Government is also aware of its role in addressing the needs of the Islamic community.
I am aware that you are in great need to have a place of your own for gatherings such as this one. I have instructed the Minister responsible to ensure that we find a place for you. I know that if we help you with land, you will help us in developing this area, particularly with infrastructure development.
Infrastructure is important in the development of this country. For this reason, I am committed to pursue a number of infrastructure projects in this region.
We are making progress with plans to upgrade Mangochi-Liwonde road. We already found the funds. We certainly deserve a better road. Mangochi is an important town. It is economically active and accommodates a lot of tourists in this country. This is also one place where we get our chambo – probably the best fish in the world. Most of you know that chambo is the brand of Malawi. My plans are that we must develop trade, tourism and irrigation agriculture here. That needs good infrastructure.
For the same reason, I am committed to build the Mangochi-Makanjira road. That side also deserves a good road.
As most of you know, Machinga district did not have a district secondary school for a long time. The DPP Government started constructing Machinga Secondary School at Liwonde. Most of the buildings are completed and we will be finishing this project soon. I want development to reach every part of Malawi. We are all Malawians, and we all deserve development.
I do not mean to dwell on the many more development projects lined up in this region. I reserve that for another day. But it is important to underscore that religion and development always complement each other. I am committed to bring more development to Mangochi and the surrounding areas.
Lastly, let me appeal to you all to remember one responsibility God gave us. Our Creator wants us to care for our place on earth. Let us preserve the environment in which we live. Now that the rains have begun, let us remember to plant trees. Let us make Malawi green again. This is an appeal to all of us who love our country.
As I close, Mr Chairman, let me say I have cherished every moment I have been here. And I thank you for inviting me to be with you.
God bless you, and bless Malawi,