Civil Society Network in Nsanje has called upon civic education bodies not to relent in giving civic education messages on peaceful elections so that the district should have free, fair and credible elections come 21 May, 2019.
The call comes following violent clashes in the district that led to the killing of one person while a dozen other people were injured as residents expressed anger demanding to have a murder suspect released to apply mob justice.
Secretary to the Civil Society Network, Kondwani Malunga, who is also NICE District Civic Education Officer, said while the fracas would not be viewed as politically motivated, the anger came out of frustration from non-responsive leadership.
“It is of paramount importance to continuously engage the community through awareness campaigns in democratic principles including the need to respect rule of law.
“We ask all citizens of Nsanje to take part in the election process peacefully and we continue mobilizing people to peacefully coexist so that we have violent free elections,” said Malunga.
He added that they have already started engaging other stakeholders such as Nice Public Trust, Catholic Commission for Justice and peace and Malawi Care in collaboration with the police in building a peaceful environment in elections period.
Commenting on what the network has embarked on to achieve, Peoples’ Party district governor Tommy Chilipo who is also secretary for Pili Pyathu Forum (grouping of district governors in Nsanje) concurred with the network and said political parties need to tame their followers so that cases of violence are history in the district.
“Politics is not about mudslinging, castigating one another, uprooting flags or beating opponents. Our mission is to preach peace amongst our followers across the district and even beyond,” said Chilipo.
Meanwhile the country’s elections managing body the Malawi Electoral Commission has released code of conduct for political parties and candidates. The document signed by the chairperson Justice Dr Jane and SC, calls on every stakeholder to contribute to fair, free and credible elections.
“The Commission is optimistic that the parties and contestants shall concentrate on issue-based campaign; what they will do if selected or re-elected and not to dwell on character assassination or name-calling,” reads part of the 18-page document.
The document further warns stakeholders to avoid using the language and pronouncements that easily incite violence, hatred, unrest and instil fear among members of the public.