CCJP urges Chiefs in Malawi to level play field for all parties

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) Chikhwawa Diocese which is an arm of Episcopal Conference of Malawi has bemoaned the conduct of some Traditional leaders in the country who are said to be biased towards other political parties as as well as aspiring candidates.

The sentiments comes barely a month after traditional leaders including Traditional Authorities (TAs) Chimombo and Ndamela from Nsanje South had to walk long distance to District Commissioner’s Offices protesting against the decision made by Abida Sidik Mia not to contest as a People’s Party (PP) Member of Parliament for the 2014 tripartite elections due to intra – party democracy hiccups.

Chikhwawa CCJP Diocesan Secretary Louis Msiyadungu fears the malpractice would bring about conflicts amongst political parties ahead of the 2014 tripartite elections.

Msiyadungu said unless the local leaders treat all the political parties and aspirants fairly, the 2014 polls will not be free and fair.

Chiefs urged to me fair
Chiefs urged to me fair

“It is a known fact that some chiefs in the country have their own preferred political parties and candidates. For instance; what happened a few weeks ago in Nsanje district where chiefs had to rally behind an aspirants even if the primaries are not conducted.

“This can trigger controversy among various political parties and their followers which would impact on the credibility of the forth coming polls,” Said Msiyadungu.

Msiyadungu further said, CCJP is also worried with the behavior of some local leaders in the country who are siding with some aspirants and political parties as regards to provision of political rally venues.

“It is unfortunate for the chiefs to be denying other political parties venues for their rallies. It is the constitutional right for the electorate to information pertaining to elections that includes those that are contesting so that they can make the right choices. As local leaders, they are supposed to level the play field by accommodating all the aspirants,” he explained.

The Chikhwawa CCJP Diocesan Secretary stressed the need for the electorate to know manifestos for all the political parties in advance so that they make informed choices come May 20, 2014.

Traditional Authority (TA) Mbenje of Nsanje district acknowledged that some traditional leaders in the country have the tendency of favouring other politicians which he said is putting democracy at risk.

The Chief said in his area, all political parties are given equal opportunity to address their rallies. He however advised those that are biased to stop for the credibility of the elections.

Meanwhile CCJP has embarked on Civic and Voter Education Activities with a funding of 266 Million Kwacha from Norwegian Church Aid and Danish Church Aid.

The funding will also assist other Faith Based Organisations such as Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and Evangelical Association of Malawi for implementation of Civic and Voter Education Activities in readiness for 2014 tripartite elections.


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