Traditional authorities in Mangochi district have expressed worry over the conduct of Catholic Church of imposing its doctrines in public primary schools which is contrary to ministry of education guidelines.

Speaking during an extra ordinary full council meeting, Sultan Chowe and Traditional Authority Makanjira said Catholic Church of Mangochi Diocese is implementing religious policies in schools which were handed over to government.

They said communities are not happy with such policies, as they have different faiths.

According to the chiefs, “communities complain that their children are being forced to follow catholic beliefs which are a violation of freedom of worship.”

They said school committee positions have been given only to Catholics which is very bad as the district is dominated by Muslims.

“As custodians of the land the church should stop the malpractice before next school calendar begins,” the chiefs stressed.

Responding to the concern, District Education Manager Joe Magombo acknowledged the issue.

Magombo said his office also wondered why Catholic church has directed such policies in public primary schools which are unacceptable.

“Reports indicate that the church has directed heads of schools to have pictures of Pope Francis, crosses, school sign posts with church symbols and school committee positions comprising church members which are a breach of Education polices,” explained Magombo

He told the council that his office started discussions with Catholic Church leaders on the matter.

Commenting, chair of Mangochi district council chair Twaha Salanje described the move by the church as very pathetic because public schools have teachers who are recruited and paid by government.

Salanje said “the council believes in peaceful co-existence hence no need to tolerate policies which can incite violence in Mangochi.”

He therefore said the council and District Education office will hold discussions with Catholic Church leaders to stop the malpractice.