In a pastoral letter titled, ‘A call for a new era in Malawi,’ read nationwide, in parishes, the Bishops denounce the fact that 54 years after independence, the majority of citizens are still living in abject poverty. Malawi’s prelates say that a system of government that favours only a small, powerful elite needs to be interrogated and Malawians themselves need a change of heart, direction and mindset to make things right.

As reported by Vatican Radio, the pastoral letter read, “We, your Bishops, are saddened to note that the hard-won freedom and democratic dispensation in our country have not yielded the fruits that we all hoped for. We have observed with deep sorrow that the majority of the people in this country still languish under the yoke of poverty, ignorance, disease, hunger and a seriously distorted mindset that has led to dangerous moral decadence in our society. Fifty-four years after independence the people of Malawi have not achieved what they had been aspiring for.” Further, the bishops added, “We are of the opinion that Malawi as a nation needs a change of direction if we are to reverse the situation. We mean a total change in the way of doing things other than business as usual. This entails a change of mindset leading to a new era of fairness and justice for all.”

The Bishops’ pastoral letter is a scathing indictment of Malawian politicians and society but also a pastoral call for a change of heart and mentality towards a new era of doing politics and living.