Three organizations in Karonga district have put their resources together to facilitate Ward to Ward public debates in the district’s 10 Wards as one way of helping electorates to have time with their prospective Councillors before the May 21 tripartite polls.
The first debate was held at Iponga primary school ground on Wednesday afternoon in Songwe Ward.
NICE Trust, Foundation for community support services (FOCUS) and JP of Karonga diocese organized the debate and eight shadow Councillors turned up for the event. Conspicuously missing was the DPP shadow Councillor.
According to Karonga National Initiative for Civic Education Public (NICE) Trust district education officer Christobel Munthali, the know your candidates debates have been lined up with an aim of bringing shadow Councillors closer to voters to discuss general developments that they would initiate once voted into power.
Munthali said the debates will also give an opportunity to electorates to raise and ask questions to assess their shadow councillors’ their reasoning skills and understanding of pertinent developmental terms used in their line of duty at the Council.
“We have put our resources together so that for the first time voters and their candidates should interact and discuss various developments in their areas before vote.
“This will give electorates to make an informed choice on who to vote for,” Munthali said.
Her counterpart at Justice and Peace (JP) Vincent Bwinga added that the debate will be broadcast live on Tuntufye FM thereby giving an opportunity to everyone to catch every promise their candidates will be making.
“Above all, we will be documenting the proceedings and at the end of every debate, candidates will be making commitments by signing an agreement on what they have promised.
“We have taken this approach so that when they are elected and fail to implement their promises, voters should hold them accountable for failing to fulfil what they promised,” Bwinga said.
Speaking after the Wednesday debate, one of the shadow Councillors Tiwonge Kayange hailed the organizers of the debates as it gave them a chance to sell out their manifestos to voters.
“This is really a wonderful experience. Coming face to face with voters has been helpful as we are scrambling for votes on May 21,” Kayange said.