Malawi Electoral Commission warns drama groups on civic education: No alcohol abuse

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says it will revoke accreditation for Drama groups that will be found guilty of performing under the influence of alcohol.

MEC said Drama groups that perform with the influence of alcohol were likely to distort or exaggerate voter and civic education messages on the forthcoming voter registration exercise starting on July 22, 2013.

For the 2014 Tripartite Elections, the Commission decided that everyone should register; whether they registered before or not. In common person’s language, anyone who was born before 20th May, 1996 will have to register because they will have attained the age of 18 on the polling day.

The Commission also warned the groups from engaging in partisanship by favoring political parties or candidates saying among other tasks their job is to emphasize the fact that people have a right to choose a party or candidate of their choice without being coerced or ballot

Section 4 (1) (g) of MEC’s code of conduct of accredited Civil Society Organization restrains CSOs from indulging in any act that would negatively impact on the credibility of the electoral process.

MEC and the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) officials said this during the training of northern region based Drama groups that have been accredited to provide voter and civic education on the 2014 electoral processes held at Mzuzu Lodge on Monday.

Commissioner Allan Chiphiko said the accredited Drama groups would be representing MEC in the various communities saying it would be wrong for them to abuse alcohol because this would dent MEC’s image.

“Drama groups should encourage or motivate people to go for voter registration therefore desist from disseminating bad messages and do not fabricate your own messages as well. In course of doing that be entertaining as well,” Chiphiko said.

While Commissioner Reverend Mezuwa Banda called upon the Drama groups to use languages common in a particular language.

“Our aim is that voter and civic education messages should reach all corners of Malawi,” reverend Banda said.

National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Regional manager for the north Enock Chikhuntha said Drama groups were the best way to reach people in hard to reach areas’.

Twenty One Drama groups drawn from all districts in the northern region are took part in the daylong training.—MEC Stringer

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