Maputo, 18 Nov (AIM) – President Filipe Nyusi on 16 November challenged the Catholic Church to continue its commitment to achieving the social well-being of Mozambicans and indicated that dialogue should be one of the paths chosen.
Speaking at the ceremony in Maputo, closing the General Assembly of the Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA), President Nyusi said that through the Catholic Church, with the involvement of other social groups, social well-being could be achieved in record time.
“Poverty, peace, corruption, national reconciliation – these are some of the challenges”, declared President Nyusi. He added that Mozambicans cherish the words of peace and reconciliation uttered by the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, when he visited Mozambique in early September.
“In tumultuous times, these words are motivating factors and an encouragement for us,” said the President.
The most recent data from the Catholic Church is that, as of last June, 7.6 million Mozambicans (out of a total population of 28 million, according to the 2017 census) follow this religion. The church in Mozambique is organised into 343 parishes and 1,335 pastoral centres. There are 23 catholic bishops.
In education, the Catholic Church controls 172 primary schools (with 52,000 pupils), 64 secondary schools (with 57,086 pupils), and 14 institutions of higher education (catering for 19,024 students).
President Nyusi stressed the mediation of the Catholic Church in attaining the General Peace Agreement signed in Rome, in 1992, between the government and the then rebel movement Renamo.
The IMBISA General Assembly brought together Catholic bishops from Mozambique, Angola, Eswatini, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Sao Tome and Principe.
The Assembly elected as the IMBISA president for the next three years Lucio Muandula, the bishop of the southern Mozambican diocese of Xai-Xai, and chairperson of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique.
The Archbishop of Windhoek, Nashenda Liboriusa, was elected deputy president, while the Archbishop of Harare, Robert Ndlovu, becomes the organisation’s new secretary.