Candidates contesting for the seat of parliamentarian in Neno North on Tuesday participated in a debate and signed a Social Agreement Contract with the community that they will fulfil whatever they have promised in their manifesto and manage development funds in a transparent and accountable manner.
The signing ceremony which took place during the first parliamentary election debate in the district was facilitated by NICE officials in the presence of district commissioner, Chiefs, ADC leaders and hundreds of people who came to brace the debate.
According to NICE Trust Civic Education Officer for Neno district Walasi Kudzala, the main objective of the debates is to offer the electorate an opportunity to know and assess their candidates for them to make informed choices.
He said communities may have less information about candidates but by listening to their policy ideas, the debates have potential to change voters’ evaluation of contestants.
“What we are doing as NICE is creating a platform for the candidates to outline and sell their manifesto themselves to the community, this helps to shift the election campaign from personality attacks, name calling to an issue-based campaign process,” said Kudazala.
Group village head Chidakwani who represented T/A Chekucheku advised the candidates to conduct peaceful campaign and urged those who will not make it to accept the result and support the one who will win for the benefit of the constituency.
There were nine candidates who took part in the debate while outgoing member of parliament for the constituency Emmanuel Lonzo and UDF candidate Clement Mollande shunned the debate.
During the debate, the candidates focused more on problems of water, poor road infrastructures, bridges, inadequate education facilities and deforestation which is one of the major challenge in the whole Neno district where charcoal burning is a hot business.
The second debate, slated for April 16 will be in Neno South to be followed by other two ward councilors debates in Chilim’bondo and Ligowe ward.