On Thursday, April 5, 2012 the then president of Malawi Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika passed on after experiencing cardiac arrest. Later on Saturday, April , 2012, the then Vice President of the Republic of Malawi, Joyce Hilda Mtila Banda was sworn in as a President of Malawi by the Chief Justice, His Lordship Lovemore Munlo. No one, except God, knew that these things will happen. Again, God showed us that He is sovereign over His creation and no one can second guess Him. What Apostle Paul wrote about God in Romans 11:33-36 is very true:
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.
After I heard the news of the passing on of Mutharika, I, just like most Malawians, have keenly followed the developments that have occurred since then. A couple of thoughts have entered my mind.
First, I, strongly, believe that God loves the nation of Malawi in a special way. Going by media reports, some individual fought hard to violate the constitution of Malawi so that Banda should not become the president. However, their plans never came to fruition and all Malawians witnessed the rule of law prevailing in the land as Joyce Banda was sworn in as President. I don’t believe that this just happened but God being in control, he guided the events in our country to be what they are today. To Him alone be the glory indeed!
Secondly, my thoughts go to Her Excellency Joyce Banda. This should be a very difficult time for her as she has a huge pile of decisions to make in order to propel our country out of the current quagmire of problems to better days. Just to remind you. The President has to appoint a new cabinet. She, therefore, has a challenging task of choosing selfless people to serve our nation. She has to appoint people who will put the agenda of turning around the problems of our country before their own personal gains. Believe you me, such people are hard to find since the heart is deceiving above all things. Some might appear very good people who love the country, but deep down their hearts, they harbor selfish plans and are mere opportunists not true servants of the people.
Apart from this challenge, the country is in a very serious economic crisis. We are facing forex, fuel and drug shortages. The cost of living is rising almost every day. Our record of human rights has been worsening. There has been bad governance in the country and the rule of law has in some cases been comprised. Our relationship with most international donors and neighboring countries is not cordial.
Now, addressing these challenges is not easy. Some will even take longer to be sorted out. No matter how wise and knowledgeable Banda can be, she cannot solve these challenges without the guidance and help of the Lord. Therefore, this calls for us Christian to spring into action and continually pray for her that God should guide and lead her.
We should pray that God should give her the courage to take even those difficult actions that in the end will improve our situation for the better . As a matter of fact, our responsibility to pray for our leaders is very clear in Scripture:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
We should pray for President Banda that power should not corrupt her to become insensitive to the suffering of Malawians due to careless and selfish decisions of the government. We should pray that in all things she should trust in the Lord with all her heart and not lean on her own understanding and that in everything she should acknowledge the Lord so that He can make her path straight (Proverbs 3:5, 6).
Thirdly, my thoughts go to the former first lady, Callista Mutharika and the entire family of late Bingu wa Mutharika. This is, no doubt, a very hard time. They have lost a husband, a father, a grandparent, a brother, an uncle and what have you.
As this is not enough, there have been some people, especially politicians, who were very close to late Bingu who have deserted the family during this time when the family needs them most. It should be very painful seeing those whom you thought were true friends to your relative deserting you because the relative is no more.
Despite whatever bad things that the late Mutharika did, as Christians we are supposed to mourn with family. By mourning with them, we are not approving the bad things rather we are carrying out our responsibilities as God’s children to “rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).
So, we should pray that God should comfort the family when some of the close friends of the late Bingu are deserting the bereaved family. Above all, we can pray that God, in his grace, should help the family focus their attention on Jesus rather than on man because man can and will always disappoint, but Jesus never disappoints. Although the context might be different but I believe the Psalmist put it better when he said:
Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me (Psalm 27:10).
These are some of my random thoughts on the passing on of late Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika and the ascension into the office of president of Malawi by Her Excellency Madam Joyce Banda. God bless our land of Malawi and continue to keep it a land of peace. Amen!