By Patrick Ndawala and Robert Nayeja
As the country waits court determination on the electoral case, National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust on Thursday organised a peace building sensitisation campaign in Machinga District as a way of preparing people to accept the court’s ruling.
NICE Central Regional Civic Education Officer, Christopher Naphiyo said the aim of the meeting was to create opportunity for all electoral partners to reflect on the situation regarding peace in the district as the country has been experiencing post-election conflicts.
He said although Machinga District did not experience any political violence after May 21 tripartite elections, there was need for leaders to continue encouraging their subjects to embrace a spirit of peace.
“The district experienced political violence in 2008 ahead of the 2009 elections, hence the possibility of occurrence of political violence is there. So, there is need to take action,” he said.
Naphiyo said people need to learn to respect the rule of law and understand that in a court case there is one winner.
“We have all seen a sense of lawlessness sweeping the country where by lives have been lost and property both public and private has been vandalised. We want these leaders to be conscious with people’s reaction, especially on the outcome of the court case.
“We want those that may be found on the losing side to accept the ruling without bringing about conflict in the country so that peace prevails and those on the winning side should celebrate responsibly,” he added.
In his remarks, Chairperson for Machinga District Council, Alexander Shoti said the meeting was fruitful as it promoted oneness among people of different political affiliations in Machinga.
“In Machinga, we enjoy freedom of association and we have agreed that the election case should not be the base of dividing us. Whatever comes from the case people should accept it and continue developing our district,” he said.
On his part, Paramount Chief Kawinga who also attended the meeting echoed the council chairperson’s sentiments, saying people from the district should continue embracing peace.
He said as local leaders, they would take the messages to their subjects so that they continue living in harmony.
Kawinga, therefore, thanked NICE for equipping local leaders with knowledge on how best they could promote peace in the district describing the development as timely.
The paramount chief promised he would ensure that the Eastern Region remains peaceful.
“My advice is that we are all Malawians despite our differences in religion and political affiliations; there is need to live peacefully so that we create a conducive environment to develop our respective communities,” added the chief.
United Democratic Front Governor, Yuda Phiri who is also the President for all political parties in the district said people in the district continue enjoying freedom of association as they do things together.
“I am very proud that our district has remained peaceful since the elections results were announced by Malawi Electoral Commission,” said Yuda.
He said political leaders in the district have agreed to continue encouraging their followers to embrace peace by desisting from any political violence.
NICE has been organising peace-building sensitisation meetings across the country and so far, has reached 16 districts.