Saturday, July 23, 2011

God, not Internet, holds key to Malawi protests

Unlike the Internet-based popular protests that have swept North Africa and the Middle East, the biggest threat to embattled Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika may be from Christian churches.

With two-thirds of the impoverished southern African nation's 13 million people living in villages and only now having basic mobile phones, let alone Internet-enabled ones, the power of technology to mobilise mass opposition is limited.

However, in the former British colony where more than 80 percent of the population is Christian, the words of the church carry enormous weight -- and the death of 18 anti-government protesters in clashes with police this week has spurred the institution into action.

In a statement, the head of the Catholic church, Bishop Joseph Zuza, lamented the loss of life and called on Mutharika to "listen attentively and honestly to the cry of Malawians." (more)