As the country gears for the fresh presidential election on Tuesday 23 2020, the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) has been preparing Malawians for the poll.
NICE officials have been crisscrossing the country to deliver message to registered voters, enlightening them on the importance of this election.
NICE district civic education officer for Mchinji, Paul Kanyenda, recently conducted a number of sensization campaign rallies in the district.
Kanyenda said he was impressed with the number of people that visited their respective centres to ask for transfers or secure duplicates for their voter certificates.
“During the whole period, we have been impressed with the turnout of people going to the centres to ask for transfers or duplicates for their voter certificates,” said Kanyenda.
He said due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, they could not conduct rallies, but instead, they used other media of communication such as social media, night criers, public address system with jingles playing to mobilize people to visit their respective centres in readiness for the voter verification exercise.
“We also wrote letters, which were read in all the churches and mosques in the district. In other areas, our ACECS [area civic education coordinators] have been going to door-to-door to deliver these messages to the registered voters and it has worked very well for us in this district,” said Kanyenda.
Elamus Killion, a registered voter from Kazila Village in T/A Mduwa in Mchinji District, said he was excited to cast his vote in the fresh presidential election on Tuesday 23 2020.
Killion said his excitement derives from the assurance that the election will heal the wounds and break the social, political and economic fences the annulled May 2019 presidential poll created among Malawians.
“I am more than ready to cast my ballot for a president of my choice,” Killion says.
However, Killion, just like many other registered voters, was quick to point out the need for Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) needs to handle the forthcoming election with utmost professionalism to avoid a repeat of what has happened for the past one year when the opposition and the governing party tussled in court in search for justice.
Mponela Trading Centre in Dowa has been one of the hotspots for politically-motivated violence.
In his recent visit to Mponela, NICE Regional Civic Education Officer (Centre), Enock Chinkhuntha, made the remarks at Mponela on Thursday during an interface meeting the Trust facilitated to allow law enforcers, politicians, faith and traditional leaders to deliberate and find lasting solutions to political violence.
Irate residents blocked the running mate for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) Alliance, Atupele Muluzi, in what was widely seen as a retaliation to what the people in Phalombe two days earlier.
People in Phalombe stoned the motorcade of State Vice President Saulos Chilima who was on a campaign trail in the South.
Chinkhuntha observed that attack on both Chilima and Muluzi convoy could have been avoided if all the leaders were proactive in prevent the vice.
He stressed that NICE is concerned with the recent spate of politically-motivated violence as Malawians prepare for the fresh presidential election.
“Honestly speaking, we cannot afford to go on like this. We need to take drastic measures to address this problem and the police, politicians, the clergy and traditional leaders hold the key to ending this vice,” said the RCEO.
Senior Chief Dzoole, Traditional Authority (T/A) Mponela, Mponela Police Officer-In-Charge (OC), Emmie Soko, and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) member of Parliament (MP) for Dowa Central Constituency, Darlington Harawa and representatives of major political parties in Malawi were among the participants to the meeting.
T/A Mponela assured that his priority would be to work with other chiefs in building and promoting sustainable peace in the district.
Mponela said he realizes that peace is critical towards achieving socioeconomic development in the society.
“I am very concerned that my area is becoming an epicentre of violence. This has dented the image of my area. In fact, some people are alleging that I do tolerate the violence, but that’s not true. That is why I asked NICE to facilitate this interface meeting so that we can find the lasting solution to this problem,” he said.
However, the situation was different in Ntchisi where people peacefully coexisted irrespective of their difference in political affiliations.
Traditional Authority Kasakula assured NICE that traditional leaders are committed to maintaining peace and tranquility in their areas during and after the voting period.