Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Lilongwe (CCJP Lilongwe) has challenged religious, traditional and political leaders to find lasting measures to stop the buying of national identification (ID) cards business, fearing the practice has potential to ignite political violence as Malawians prepare for the fresh presidential election.
CCJP Lilongwe governance project officer, Mwai Sandram, made the remarks in Lilongwe this week during the interface meeting with religious, traditional and political leaders as part of the project interventions designed to promote peaceful elections ahead of the fresh presidential poll.
The meeting was part of the Misereor Elections Project interventions, which CCJP Lilongwe is implementing with financial assistance from the German charity organization – Misereor – through the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM).
The project aims to build the capacity of local structures so that they help to motivate people to register and cast their ballots in all elections.
The participants took advantage of the meeting to seek guidance from the Commission on how they should be handling cases and people suspected to be behind the buying of national ID cards in their areas.
In his response, Sandram emphasized that traditional, political and religious leaders need to play a key role in ensuring that the malpractice is put to a stop.
“We urge you to be very vigilant in your areas. The message we have for you is: Can you monitor and observe what is happening in your areas?” he said.
He said this approach will also enable communities to come up with practical strategies for preventing such incidences in their areas.
“We want our CCJP parish committees, political and religious leaders to be vigilant and ensure that any practices that has potential to affect the preparation, the holding and outcome of the fresh presidential election should be prevented. At the end of this meeting, we will come up with proper documentation mechanisms so that we have perpetrators [of ID cards buying] are properly documented to enable the office to take the right action, which include reporting to MEC or the police because we don’t have the mandate beyond merely reporting to these institutions if the practices are bordering on crime,” said Sandram.
Senior Group Village Head (SGVH) Chitedze, who represented Traditional Authority M’bwatalika in Lilongwe, disclosed that M’bwatalika is one of the areas where reports of unscrupulous citizens buying national ID cards are rife.
But Chitedze stated that he does not have formal complaint on the matter.
“This notwithstanding, we are working together with other community and civic leaders to avert chaos that could result from suspected sale or purchase of national ID cards,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :