This is it. The elections are over. He might now be basking in the light at the end of a long tunnel. Of course, as he put it in his acceptance speech, Muslims have spoken. It’s done and gone, but not forgotten as people will remember August 31, 2016 as a day when he renewed and reaffirmed his commitment to lead the second largest faith community in Malawi, ISLAM. It’s all calm because the storm is over, yet Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad, re-elected at the helm of Muslim Association of Malawi shouldn’t be the kind of person to proceed on honeymoon.
He knows the huge task that lies ahead of him to continue what he just started. Restoring and maintaining the image of the Muslim body; restoring and maintaining the donor confidence which he has toughly fought to win in his first term; and to making sure there is fiscal prudence that will see his development projects and relief programmes sustain for the betterment of the Muslim community in particular and Malawi in general.
It’s kudos to Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad for retaining the leadership mantle of the Muslim Association of Malawi because it is a sign of confidence of the people that he serves, the Muslims. To those who have keenly followed events prior to the national elections staged at Comesa Hall in Blantyre, his victory doesn’t come as a surprise owing to the transformational leadership he has displayed, the foundation of development he has laid, not talk of his appealing approach and winning hearts of influential donor partners precisely from the Arab world. That, I acknowledge without fear whether some quarters agree or not, is a heroic achievement.
His cohorts might have chanted and smiled their way to the MAM Headquarters after the decorated conquest, nonetheless, Idrissa ought to tread carefully as these might be the people who are only bent at ripping off from the coffers of the body which are meant to foster development of the Muslim faith. Sheikh Idrissa’s focus should all remain in his conscience to deliver his promises and transform the face of most dilapidated structures which were instituted in the Sheikh Saad era decades ago, while erecting more in areas of need.
It is at times like this when someone has fixed some seemingly tumbling vessel that many will skew around, coming with sundry sugarcoated advices just to soften the leadership and create loopholes which they can use to tap and benefit from undeserving funds, if no proper structural system is instituted within the organogram to run and oversee MAM’s programmes and operations.
Yes, it is when you get things running on oiled wheels that some people’s brains become vehicles of spite and they will stop at nothing to mudsling your name, and Sheikh Idrissa must employ his youthful brains for analytical appraise of his team and acquaintances. It is now that will characterize associates with selfish aggrandizement to become close allies all for nothing but a bait to fulfilling their personal wishes.
I mean his hand clappers and fanatics can all shower praises but he shouldn’t let them draw a battle line against anyone deemed disloyal to him. There are people who always lounge in perpetual squabbles and hatred, always making sure there are factions within the Muslim community. My chairman should not entertain such radicals who do not have a place in our society. This is time to foster unity and you already displayed that when you extending an olive branch to your ring mate at the polls. That’s the way to go. And thumbs up to Dr Sheikh Imran Sharif for accepting the results honorably and expressing interest to help in any way you can as a Muslim. We all don’t need to wait until we sit on some throne to work for Islam.
On the other hand, this should be a new dawn. Its every good willing Muslim’s wish that there will no longer be instances where some folks with self-acclaimed and vested authority would wake up one day and order the closure of MAM offices. A little employment of civility will help us a great deal, especially in modern times where contact and dialogue work miracles. You can’t hold the entire Muslim authority to a retrospective situation where they can’t discharge their duties effectively.
Being a Sheikh himself, cautiousness and consciousness of his faith should keep Idrissa Muhammad in rail, knowing that his position is bestowed by Allah to save the Muslim community in the most diligent and pious manner. Let Idrissa’s eyes keep wide open and ears to the ground, his attitude down to earth and his walk along his talk, and he won’t have to prove what he is made of, as the results will speak volumes, and people will proudly say, “there we have a leader”. He will maintain his charm and charisma and be the dream leader of Muslims in Malawi.
Despite being Malawi’s first and oldest religion, the development of Islam has been at a snail’s pace. The recent past has seen many other religious groupings flourish and mushroom while Islam has stagnated in its own problems emanating from poor leadership. Islam has had no clear development agenda. Gossiping, finger pointing and blame game have been the order of the day at the expense of, thank God, the rapidly increasing populace of Muslims in Malawi.
Islam now enjoys an enviable rate of professionals in different fields ranging from, teachers, doctors, engineers, lawyers, accountants, economic experts, business managers and administrators, political scientists, journalists, IT experts and many more. This should be a time to put in place programs which are deliberately meant to collaborate and integrate these professionals, relevant to the field of project or development initiative. Their expertise is so much useful for sustainable development of Islam.
MAM should no longer operate in isolation of its own fountain of wisdom and expertise which is competitive in modern times. Islam cannot afford to exclude people who matter in society; people who, if coupled with our Muslim Ulemas, can help attain the glory of Islam. On the other hand, let Muslim professionals come out from their closed life and offer their contribution of expertise to the affairs of MAM. Let them provide guidance and constructive criticism to the leadership, instead of engaging in fragmental conversations of grumble.
Time for grunting over the past is over. It’s time to rebuild with all the acquired arsenal at our disposal. We have the human capacity in our revered learned Sheikhs and intellectuals in various professions. And thank God, Sheikh Idrissa has managed to win back donor aid which ran dry 25 years ago due to mismanagement and abuse of funds. Other Muslim organisations are already doing their noble part in complementing efforts of Islamic development by constructing Mosques, schools, clinics, offering bursary to needy students and even relief programs.
All hopes are now on Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad, after being given another mandate as MAM chairperson, to see meaningful development take its course. Muslims have longed for their own full university, owing to the increasing number of boys and girls who are graduating from secondary school against inadequate capacity in the existing public higher learning institutions.
How about a fully-fledged establishment of a Muslim health facility? Wait a minute, I heard plans were in the offing for Islamic banking by some good willing Muslim professionals. Isn’t this worth pursuing and supporting? What if MAM embarked on long time investment ambitions such as constructing storey buildings in our major cities, (of course including a befitting headquarter offices) etc?
These I wish, were key issues in the new leadership of Muslim Association of Malawi. That’s a huge task ahead of you our chairman. Hence, I think, no honeymoon after your re-election.
Congratulations are in order Mr Chairman.