The European Union says it is satisfied with previous programmes undertaken by National Initiative for Civic Education Public Trust (NICE ). Speaking at the launching Ceremony of a Five Year Multi Annual Programme Estimate MAPE in Lilongwe ( which is part of the Government of Malawi Democratic Governance Program called Chilungamo), the Head of EU Ambassador and Delegation, to Malawi His Excellency Marchel Gerrmann said during the launch that supporting the long term program, the MAPE, is a clear demonstration of EU’s long term commitment to NICE. He said that NICE has been a long-term partner of the EU since it was established in 1999.
‘This is an illustration that we are satisfied with the results from the previous programmes with NICE,’ Ambassador Gerrmann said adding that NICE needs the support of other partners and the Malawi government in order to sustain and scale up activities in all the districts in Malawi. The Ambassador noted that there are a lot of emerging issues in Malawi that NICE should pay particular attention among others; mismanagement of funds in councils, and misunderstandings between Ward Councilors and Members of Parliament roles which affect implementation of community projects, population boom among others.
“NICE needs to pay more attention to these things. You should never at any point be derailed by any form of pressure.’ Advised the EU ambassador.
Commenting on the role of NICE in civic and voter education, the EU Ambassador commended NICE for significantly contributing to reduction of the percentage of null and void votes from 4.5% in 2009 General eelection,to slightly above 1% in the first ever Tripartite Elections in 2014, adding that, the EU was confident that this remarkable achievement would be sustained in the 2019 Tripartite.
Speaking at the event Guest of Honor, the former Vice President of Malawi Right Hounourable Dr Justin Malawezi said that the 5-years long funding of the MAPE from the EU, would go a long way in strengthening NICE to be a more viable organization. This will contribute to expectation that the Trust should conduct civic education in a permanent and sustainable manner.
Earlier on the Chairperson of NICE Board of Trustees Mrs Susan Kaunda said that the launch of the MAPE was intended to help in raising the profile of the Trust and confirm its commitment to contribute towards the promotion/strengthening of democracy and good governance in Malawi through the provision of impartial and non-partisan civic and voter education.
‘The main objective of the launch of NICE Public Trust MAPE is to raise awareness among the Malawian citizenry on the presence of the long-term program of the civic and voter education body and outline strategies put in place to contribute towards a stronger democratic culture among Malawians’ Kaunda said.
The MAPE is EU funded 5 years Multi-Annual Programme Estimate (MAPE) which started in February 2017 and will run up to January 2022, with the main aim of promoting democratic governance and active participation of citizens in decision making processes so that they can hold their elected representatives, public officials and service providers to account for their actions and non-actions. The Program also focusses on capacitating communities to access to justice.
The ceremony was held at the Great Sapitwa Hall at Cresta Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe and was also attended by Malawi Electoral Election Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah SC, The First Deputy Speaker National Assembly Honourable Esther Mcheka Chilenje. The Solicitor and Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Dr Jane Banda, The National Authorising Office officials among others.