Malawi’s new president Dr Lazarus Chakwera has called on “all religiously-inclined citizens of the country” to join him in observing three days of fasting and prayer from today (Thursday July 16) to Saturday July 18 against the spread and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The former leader of the Malawi Assemblies of God who won at the polls in last month’s historic election re-run has also called on citizens to join him in observing a national day of thanksgiving on Sunday to thank God in their homes and religious gatherings for the grace He has showered upon the nation.
According to a statement released by the Minister of Information and Government Spokesperson Gospel Kazako, the prayer focus from today to Saturday is for the recovery of those infected and affected by the virus; and for the protection and sustenance of healthcare workers on the frontline in the fight against the pandemic.
Government has also called for strict adherence to the Covid-19 preventive measures during these religious gatherings.
Mounting challenges around the pandemic are shaping up to be a tough, early test for Malawi’s new leader. There has been a surge in confirmed infections (now at 2 497) and fatalities (now at 40) attributed to people returning to the country — mainly from South Africa. There is reportedly a dire shortage of Covid-19 testing materials and protective gear for medical staff. And the government is blocked from enforcing stricter Covid-19 measures because an April Supreme Court order is still in force, blocking restrictions pending a plan to protect the poor from the impact of lockdown.
Responding to Chakwera’s call for national prayer and fasting, Dr Edward Mikwamba national coordinator of National Repentance Malawi (NRP) said they commend the initiative and thank God for it.
“We feel that prayer and fasting is the solution to the problems we are facing as a nation So we urge intercessors to use this time to pray into the issue of the Covid-19 pandemic. We believe it is from the pit of hell — disturbing families, the economy and governance but we feel if we pray and fast God is going to hear our prayers.”
He said NRP has called for 30 days of prayer and fasting for the nation from July 8 to August 8 and for a 3-nation repentance campaign in August, involving Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya with prayer against Covid-19 in Malawi, against invading locust swarms in Kenya and giving thanks for godly leadership in Tanzania where President John Magufuli announced last month that prayer had rid the country of coronavirus and government announced earlier this month it plans to shut down 74 of its 85 designated Covid-19 facilities for lack of patients.