Ollen Mwalubunju Executive Director of NICE signs the agreement as German Ambassador His Excellency Jorgen Bosch looks on.

The German Government has invested K120 million to support NICE to hold political public debates in 89 constituencies and 231 wards. The funding will go towards strengthening civic and voter education for credible free and fair 2019 Tripartite elections in Malawi.

Speaking at the signing ceremony of the agreement between the German Government and NICE in Lilongwe at the German Embassy, Ambassador for the Federal Republic of Germany His Excellency Jurgen Borsch said they are very happy that NICE agreed to become the implementation partner since NICE is an organization with a broad base of volunteers to reach out to every corner of the country .

‘Our main interest is, in the most constructive and positive sense, to have a debate on content, we want to go away from discussions about people, persons and faces towards discussions about programs. We can call it a competition of good ideas’ ambassador Jorgen said.

Reacting to the sentiments Ollen Mwalubunju Executive Director of NICE said, “The funding is also complementing to our ongoing civic education, as you are aware that the EU is also supporting this. So it has pleased the Germany government to contribute in terms of the gap that we indicated to them and we are grateful that they have positively responded”

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting Gray Kalindekafe NICE Trust National programmes said elaborated more on the political debates and are aimed at giving a platform for the candidates to articulate their manifestos.

‘We shall create a face to face interaction between the aspiring candidates and the electorate because at the same time the debates will also be raising voter awareness focusing on mobilizing people to turn up on the actual polling day.” Kalindekafe said.

NICE as an institution that peomotes transparency and accountability, will also use the debates as an accountability tool because they will be recorded and later on be played to the community.

“ Not only will we do the debates and forget about it, we intend to record all political debates and later on we will come back to the same community and the candidates who wins will be asked make plans with the community on how they will full fill their promises made. That is how the debates will be used as an accountability tool” Kalindekafe said.

Kalindekafe went on to say that the debates will also act like a framework for holding leaders accountable as they will sign a social contract. The debates will act like an accountability tool for the winner to plan and execute a plan to fulfill the promises made. The elected candidate will meet the electorate to chat a way forward on how to hold these candidates accountable once elected   through signing of a social contract called “ Fullfill Your Promise Campaign.