Govt formulating to fast track compensations for victims of political atrocities

The Minister of Civic Education and National Unity, Timothy Pagonachi Mtambo, has disclosed that the government has formulated programme, which will fast-track compensations for “some individuals and communities who were subjected to terrible atrocities in the past that are still unsettled and need to be dealt with.”

Mtambo said the process for coming up with this programme included reaching out to some communities of past atrocities such as Moto Village, 20 July 2011 victims, members of the Returnees and Detainees Association and the Diaspora.

Mtambo- Minister of Civic Education and National Unity

The minister made the remarks on Friday when he presented a ministerial statement on the “Status of the National Peace and Unity Architecture in Malawi.”

Mtambo said his ministry is now making the necessary consultations with Ministries of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and Finance to ensure that the programme is comprehensive and tackles all the necessary areas once and for all.

He said the ministry was further encouraged to observe that all stakeholders urged the government to expedite the process of establishing the Malawi Peace and Unity Commission.

“Madam Speaker, let me highlight that the enactment of the Peace and Unity Bill once it comes to the August House, and the subsequent establishment of the MPUC and DPUCs is expected to register sustainable peace and national unity arising out of harmonized and coordinated efforts in conflict prevention, conflict management and conflict resolution; institutionalized and inclusive peace building initiatives that incorporate the participation of women, youth and people with disabilities; and reduced cases of violent conflicts at national and local levels due to implementation of effective early warning and early response mechanisms to threats to peace; and enhanced capacity for conflict prevention, conflict management and conflict resolution for different groups and communities,” he said.

The minister emphasized that one of the key areas is to facilitate healing from wounds that may be inflicted on individuals, groups and communities from time to time.

He said this is a prerequisite for Malawi to make any progress in moving away from religious and ethnocentric polarization to national unity.

“It is in this spirit that my Ministry partnered with the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) to successfully mediate between Christian and Muslim communities leading to a peaceful resolution of a misunderstanding that arose from the billboard that was mounted in Blantyre and the misunderstanding on hijab wearing in Christian aided schools.

“Madam Speaker, my ministry has also embarked on facilitating development of transformative national values for mindset change and national unity. There is need for Malawi to preserve values that identify our uniqueness as Malawians. Values that promote patriotism, selflessness, dignity and pride in being Malawian which are important attributes for national development.

“National values that bind us together as One People in our diversity of cultures, religion, region, tribe, gender, economic status. My Ministry has conducting consultations engaging various groups and sectors of our society to generate insights and gather necessary input to develop framework that defines and guides on promotion of national values,” said Mtambo.

In the same vein, Mtambo announced that his ministry has been consulting several stakeholders on the establishment of the National Day of Unity and Cultural Heritage.

He said on this day, Malawians from different ethnicities will come together to celebrate Malawian culture with the aim of promoting cultural understanding, appreciation and cultural tolerance.

“This is premised on the fact that cultural intolerance can trigger conflicts. Madam Speaker let me end by confidently stating here that the Government of Malawi through the servant leadership of His Excellency Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, the President of the Republic of Malawi is fully committed to provide for a mechanism for fostering peace and unity in Malawi including the establishment of the Malawi Peace and Unity Commission in order to promote sustainable peace and unity in the country.

“Madam Speaker, I wish to reiterate that investment in peace and unity building is a worthwhile national investment as these are the key prerequisites to sustainable national development. Where there are people, there shall always be differences. The best we need to do as a nation is to ensure we put in place effective functional mechanisms to preserve the peace in this beloved country.

“And this is exactly the primary pursuit for the Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity to ensure we have the clear and strong structural provisions and functional systems that capacitate the government to better coordinate and manage efforts to prevent conflicts as well as effectively manage any incidents to avoid escalation. I humbly and earnestly request the August House to support the establishment National Peace and Unity Architecture,” said Mtambo.

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