Think-tank Forum for New Direction (Fond) has mobilised Malawi academics to a debate on federal system of government to be held on October 12 in Mzuzu.
Among those lined up to the federalism debate includes Malawi’s internationally respected scholars Professor Thandeka Mkandawire, Prof Mphalive Msiska, Dr Victor Mugomezulu, Dr Bina Shawa and Dr Bofomo Nyirenda.
Others are Prof. Kingsley Phiri, Dr Lezi Zeleza Manda, Dr Yohane Nyasulu, and Victor Mapesi Gondwe, lawyer and historian Phillip Banda, trade unionist Ken Williams Mhango. The list include senior and retired citizens such Prof David Rubadiri and Prof Felix Munthali.
Also taking part in the debate will be the religious leader, political party representative, government officials, chiefs and other ‘movers and shakers’.
Fond chairperson Prof. Godwin Mkamanga. said after the debate , the delegates will be part of development of a Strategic Plan that will oversee a set up of new committee to drive the process of negotiating with government, donor community, Public Affairs Committee, media groups and other stakeholders to bring down to one voice .
Mkamanga said Fond wants open and free debate so that people understand the system of governance to be adopted.
“There must be room for free, open and frank discussion on the merits and setbacks of federalism to educate the general populace, who would then be able to make informed choices,” he said.
Fond said intimidations, harassment and attempts at silencing people with different views from the established one, should have no place in a democracy worthy of its name.
The grouping said it wants people to appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of federalism.
They argue that the call for federalism is being considered as an alternative governance modality for an independent country, where four political regions already exist, rather than being viewed as dividing the country and its citizens into tribal zones.
Meanwhile, CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, one of the powerful churches in Malawi, has said no one should be threatened for supporting on-going calls for federal system of government in the country.
The Synod also told the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government that time for oppression was over, warning it against suppressing calls for federalism.
Synod Spiritual Father, Rev Douglas Chirambo said Malawi is not a dictatorship, as such people should be allowed to debate federalism.
“People should not be threatened for voicing their concerns. If proponents of federalism are pushing for federal government, it means something is wrong,” said Chirambo.
He cited the recent quota system of selecting to students to conventional secondary schools and public universities as a justification for federalism calls.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :