It is gratifying and reassuring that Blantyre Synod’s new General Secretary Reverend Dr Billy Gama knows exactly the work that has been cut out for him in that position. To start with, congratulations are in order to you and the whole Synod executive management for the responsibilities you have been entrusted with.
One of the Church’s main building blocks is integrity. Its success, on the other hand, is defined and informed by the quality and number of souls it turns to God as well as its ability to serve and save humanity with a Christ-like heart.
For these reasons and obviously more, society expects the Church to be a symbol of hope. In a society fraught with divisiveness, the Church is nostalgically expected to be a sanctuary of peace and an oasis of serenity, calm and tranquility. The Church is, therefore, expected to be the last place for the devil to use as its fishing ground.
But unfortunately, most of the ideals mentioned here are conspicuous in the Church and many faith-based institutions by their absence. Churches and their leadership are as divided as they are divisive to the flock.
One of the causes of disunity and tension in the Church is that it (the Church) likes to play in the hands of politicians. The Church has allowed itself to be used and abused by politicians. Politics is a game of numbers. And successful politicians are those who are able to amass the biggest numbers of people. These numbers translate into votes during elections. And because the Church is a good constituency from where to garner the numbers they need, politicians will always target it for their survival and relevance in politics.
Unfortunately, unlike in the Church, successful politicians are not defined by ideals and value systems such as morality and uprightness and truthfulness. Politicians are quite often not predisposed to display ideals such as honesty, scruples and being ethical.
Consequently, whether out of poverty or lack of self-esteem, Church leaders are quite often an easy prey for politicians. They accept hefty sums of money or other items far beyond what normally passes as a gift with no feeling of guilt. As we all know there is a big difference between a gift and a bribe. Quite often what Church leaders get from most politicians are bribes. Church leaders know very well when something is a gift or a bribe. Bribes corrupt. It is not that politicians are incapable of giving genuine gifts to Church leaders.
It is also not that Church leaders cannot or should not be involved in partisan politics. It is their inalienable right. But it is nobler and more virtuous for them to rise above politics which as many people say is a dirty game.
The recent Blantyre Synod Biennial Conference, which started with elections for new office bearers for the executive management has seen this dirty side of politics in all their manifestations and manners. To say that the elections were mired in controversy is a gross understatement. Looming large during the whole period of the conference was the feeling among the leaders and flock alike that the Synod leadership is highly divided. That partisan politics and political affiliation drove the elections and dictated their outcome. Most speakers acknowledged this and spoke on the need for the new leadership to work on uniting the Synod. Needless to say, the new executive management has a daunting task before it—of mending the divisions that partisan politics which infiltrated the rank and file of the establishment has caused. What politicians dished out was not out of their philanthropic calling. They have no such vocation. There is no free lunch. More than ever before, they will now purpose to reap where they sowed. It is pay day. But at all costs, keep them at bay. The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) as a whole and not only the Blantyre Synod needs to be reclaimed from the doldrums of partisan political shenanigans that it has shamefully entrapped itself.
Last but not least, the Synod’s flock and the world at large will be seeing the Synod through the mirror glass of its executive management members. Some members of the executive have some serious PR home work to do on a personal level of sprucing up their images which could potentially define and inform that of the Synod in general. They need to do this fast.