A call by President Lazarus Chakwera asking religiously inclined people to join him in prayer and fasting for three days starting from today to pray for covid-19, has attracted mixed reactions from Malawians on social media.

Yesterday, Chakwera through the Minister of Information Gospel Kazako asked people to join him in prayers praying for the novel Coronavirus which is still spreading in the country for God’s intervention.

Most social media users on different platforms argued that Chakwera who is a reverend should differentiate between the church and the state saying right now Malawi needs a leader not a priest.

“Prayers are not a plan, nor is fasting a strategy. The president was elected to do a job, not act as our priest.

“We are faced with a public health crisis in the form of a virus, not some unknown evil spirit. What will make a difference in the lives of Malawians and reassure the people is robust ACTION by their president, led by science and experts in the field,” wrote social commentator Idriss Ali Nassah on Facebook.

Twitter user, Jack McBrams @mcbrams, argued that the pandemic cannot go away because of prayer and fasting.

“Koma #Malawi, are we really serious? That we will tame the Covid-19 pandemic by 3 days of prayer and fasting? We can do better. This pandemic needs practical solutions because it is deaf to prayer,” he tweeted.

Professor Danwood Chirwa said: “The real problem is how he (Chakwera) respects the separation between church and state, and how he makes sure that he doesn’t use the office of the presidency to advance a particular religious denomination. Already he’s failing on both.”

While one Facebook user said: “We need more action on Covid-19 than Chakwera’s priestly duties. We’re not getting tested in time because of lack of resources.”

People who support Chakwera’s call for prayer and fasting have argued that the president has only asked “religiously inclined” people to pray and those who are willing will join.

They have also claimed that president does not see prayer and fasting as a substitute for other actions by the government aimed at ending the pandemic.

“I don’t think the President, in calling for prayer and fasting, is saying that is the strategy for fighting COVID-19. Or that is government policy. No. Don’t twist facts.

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