MALAWI: Cleric Appeals to Parliamentarians to Implement Environmental Conservation Programs for Integral Human Development

By Odiwuor Opiyo

LILONGWE, AUGUST 5, 2022 (CISA) – “We all have the responsibility of taking care of God’s people and creation. There is a need for good legal framework and political will which enhances Environmental conservation and proper mechanism to enforce these instruments,” said Rev Fr Henry Chinkanda, the Episcopal Conference of Malawi Parliamentary Liaison Officer, at a Eucharistic celebration in the parliament buildings, Lilongwe, themed “Environment Impact on Integral Development.”

While maintaining that both the Church and Government are collaborators in environmental conservation, he urged the Catholic Members of Parliament in Malawi, to heed the noble call by the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA) to preserve and protect the environment by planting and taking care of trees in their respective constituencies.

“We are aware of how the environmental degradation is adversely affecting human life worldwide and Malawi is not exempted. We have in recent years experienced strange weather phenomena such as floods, dry spells, late rainy seasons, heat waves, storms and others. The soil is also being degraded which is worrisome to human integral development,” said Fr Chinkanda.

The priest, quoted Cardinal Tagle’s presentation at the AMECEA plenary in Tanzania in which the cardinal urged people to have the spirit of caring for the environment and for one another to achieve integral development in the world while reminding the MPs that, “integral development is what the MPs promised the people in their constituencies during campaign time hence the need to take seriously the call by the Church.”

“Could every Member of Parliament have a demonstration woodlot in his or her constituency? It is now time to think of initiating one. Proper care of the soil should be at the heart of every person particularly here in Malawi where we depend on land for our livelihood,” Fr Chinkanda quipped, calling on the legislatures to lead their constituents by example.

Hon. Mary Mpanga, MP for Phalombe South Constituency and the Coordinator for Parliament Catholic Small Christian Community cited some challenges that have hindered such initiatives saying “We plant trees during the tree planting month almost every year but what has been the challenge is taking care of them so that they fully grow.”

She, however, committed to taking the initiative in their respective constituencies.

“We…have been enlightened and inspired to plant trees and take care of them.  We will encourage the people we represent including chiefs to do the same for integral human development,” she said thanking the Church in Malawi for always remembering Catholic politicians in all that it does.